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Reese Witherspoon On Her Southern Parenting Style

02/09/2009 at 08:00 PM ET
Reuters/Landov

A Nashville, Tennessee native, actress Reese Witherspoon has brought a taste of her southern-style living to Los Angeles. Raised in a familiar setting that included weekly manners classes and constant reminders to respect her elders, Reese is hopeful that her two children’s upbringing will mirror her own, despite them growing up thousands of miles away from her hometown.

Adopting the laidback lifestyle that Nashville has to offer delights 9-year-old Ava Elizabeth and 5-year-old Deacon Reese, as the proud mama says a trip back to her roots always brings a smile to their faces. “They’re crazy about the trees and the food. A creek runs through our neighborhood and they love to walk up and down it — just like I used to do with my brother.”

Once the vacation ends, the trio find themselves back in sunny California; however, Reese is determined that the Los Angeles lifestyle will not shape her parenting beliefs. For Ava and Deacon, that means setting the table every night to enjoy dinner as a family and attending church services with their mom, who hopes to instill in her kids the “real sense of community” that is present in the south. “[Church] takes you out of your personal experience and universalizes it. You understand that whatever you’re dealing with, someone in that room has either dealt with the same thing or will in the future. We are all struggling to figure out what life is about,” says Reese, adding that “we are all just looking for answers.”

Whether at church or out and about running errands, Ava and Deacon are expected to show others respect, as Reese shares she has taught the two how to properly address adults.

“I grew up in Nashville and my parents taught me to respect my elders. We’d say things like ‘yes, ma’am’ and ‘no, sir’ to adults. But kids in Los Angeles don’t do that. I’ve drawn the line at my children calling adults by their first names. I tell them they can call people ‘Miss Shannon’ or ‘Miss Heather’ but that using only first names is too familiar. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned.”

Continue reading for more on Reese’s views on parenting.

Despite laying down the rules for her kids, Reese says that she is far from being strict. Instead, the actress explains that she is simply providing her children with what most people crave: structure. “We just want to know when we’ve done something right or wrong. That’s what I’m trying to teach my own children,” shares the proud mama. Taking her time to balance praise with discipline in a respectful manner – she is adamantly against “humiliating children in front of their peers” — Reese is all for letting her family have fun (and enjoy a treat or two!) as they slowly become aware of the world around them.

“I give each of the kids five dollars when we go to the farmer’s market on the weekends. They can buy something, save it, or spend part of it and save the rest. My son is just like me: The minute he gets the money, he spends it all on something delicious. But my daughter will go around the market for a half hour weighing the possibilities until she buys one thing.”

Up next for Reese is the release of her movie Monsters vs. Aliens on March 27th. Lending her voice as Ginormica, the girl who goes on to save the planet, the actress was thrilled to send such a positive message to young ladies. “Now, that’s the kind of role I want to play. She finds her inner strength and becomes part of a family that embraces how strong she is. That’s what I want little girls to see,” says Reese.

Ava and Deacon are Reese’s children with ex-husband Ryan Phillippe.

Source: Reader’s Digest

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Showing 52 comments

Lorelei on

I absolutely agree with her on so many points. We moved to North Carolina. The south is different and I love it. With the weather warmer my kids have been exploring the creek and going exploring most days. The respect for elders is a real sticky point for me. My children have never called adults by their first name only. I was raised to address my parents friends by Mr./Mrs or Aunt/Uncle depending on their closeness to the family and I’m using that in my own family-adults are not their peers. I definitely relate to the weekly church as well. Although our religion allows us to attend mass on Saturday or early Sunday while most others are attending church all of Sunday morning, I find that’s the best time to go to the store for me- no crowds!

Beth on

O.K. I love that she teaches them “southern” values! One question thought-what church does she go to that condones living with someone?

Bren on

I love her! She is such a great Mom and has a wonderful head on her shoulders.
Beth- does she live with her boyfriend? I had no idea but I do believe that not every church is judgmental of ones lifestyle. I have seen very open minded ones. I personally think that she is probably the type of women who tries to always do best by her children and has only had Jake living with her after a long, strong relationship. To each their own is my motto but I do know that certain churches may frown on it but who are we or anyone else to judge ones lifestyle choice? By no means is this meant to be rude :-)

eva on

Am I the only one who is slightly annoyed by these generalizations?

Robin on

Beth you took the words out of my mouth.

NatashaC on

I love Reese. I bet she’s such an awesome mom.

Jeanne on

eva, I’m slightly annoyed as well. They teach manners to children in the North too, it’s not just a Southern thing.

brooklyn on

I too love her and she seems like an excellent parent (the teeny-tiny bit we know about her!)

I just wonder why she does not move back to her hometown where it is more conducive to the values she wants her kids to have? I bet she would not have to work another day in her life…I just remembered the children’s father lives in California, maybe that is why she is still living there? Who knows, just a thought…..

Mia on

I think, and with other celebrities too, they might have a legal agreement for the divorced parents and that they have to live a certain “area” near each other for the co-parenting deal to work out. So if she moved back to TN that might breech the legal agreement her/Ryan have.

I remember Tammy Etheridge, wife of M.E, making a comment about wanting to move them out of the L.A area because of the paparazzi scare they had, but that would breech the legal agreement between Melissa and her ex-wife with the deal of their 2 children together.

Laura on

Beth,
I’m sure there are plenty of churches that are fine with you living with a boyfriend/girlfriend especially if you’ve been dating a while. Maybe the church she goes to is more about God and how God loves everyone no matter what rather than one that judges people on who they live/don’t live with. I don’t mean to sound rude, but it is a bit silly to assume that absolutely no church would allow people to live with their boyfriend/girlfriend and even if they do not condone it, many people can still be good Christians and live with their partners.

Sheri on

Beth, I don’t think we can assume anything … do you know for a fact that she lives with Jake? We really have no idea what their situation is. I think she is a wonderful, young mother who should be commended on how respectful she is raising her children.

Mrs. R. on

I grew up in Northern California, worked in the south and east coasts, and married a midwesterner… no where have I ever been where children weren’t taught manners, discipline, and kindness except in ultra wealthy areas where the parents set the bad example of acting entitled and snobbish.

It’s great that Reese works to maintain a sense of reality in her children’s lives when she lives and works among some of the most ultra-elitish, wealthy, full of BS parenting styles.

Lauren on

Give me a break. I’m a Northerner born and bred, and I can’t see how anyone who is being truly honest can say the culture of the North is anything but drastically different than the culture of the South-including manners. Does that mean all Northerners walk around flipping each other off? Of course not. But tell me with a straight face that the culture of manners and general respect in Nashville is the same as in NYC and then we’ll talk. It never ceases to amaze me how people take the generalized statements of celebrities as personal affronts.

ecl on

I think that it’s nice to teach children to be polite, but that said I do not think that the only way to be polite is to refer to adults with a formal title. You can call an adult by their first name and still show them respect. I also don’t think there is anything about being an adult that automatically warrants extra respect. Children should be taught to respect everyone regardless of their age. The problem with ideas such as “Southern manners” is that they tend to rely on tradition only without ever questioning where and why the tradition exists.

Nicole on

Anyone who said that that people have good manners everywhere hasn’t been to Staten Island. Seriously though, people generally are more conservative and religious in the South.

To the person who asked what Church permits couples to live together without being married, usually the more liberal denominations(Episcopalians, United Church of Christ ect.)don’t get into sexual morality that much. It’s a much bigger deal with Evangelicals, Mormons, and the Roman Catholic Church. They believe sex outside of marriage is a serious sin. Not that all members of those religions never break the rules.lol

ma74 on

That sounded a bit weird.I don’t live in the US so I don’t know about North and South differences.Anyway, I grew up in a non-conservative and completely non-religious family and environment in Western/Central Europe but my parents taught me the same manners, respect and politeness.It’s just normal.

CelebBabyLover on

I agree with Bren and Sheri. We don’t know for sure that Resse and Jake live together. The only place I’ve seen that reported is in US Weekly, and although they DO tend to be a bit more accurate than most of the other tabs, they ARE still a tab. Therefore, what they print needs to be taken with a grain of salt (unless PEOPLE is also reporting it. Usually when that’s the case, it’s safe to believe it!)

That said, let me attempt to answer Beth’s question. As the daughter of a minister, I know quite a bit about the whole issue of sexuality/sexual morality and the church! I obviously don’t what the case is for all denominiations, but here are my denominiation’s views on it: Living together without being married (and especially sleeping together without being married) is certainly seen as less than ideal. However, does that mean we forbid people who live together and/or sleep together without being married from attending church? Absolutly not (well, at least the church I go to doesn’t, nor have any of the other churches my dad has served. I probably shouldn’t speak for ALL churches in my denomination, though!)! We also don’t require people to live apart before getting married (according to my dad, that IS actually a requirment in some denominations, such as Roman Catholic!).

Also, my brother and his girlfriend live together, and although my dad would ideally prefer that they be married if they’re going to live together, he accepts it and over all doesn’t have THAT much of a problem with it (in fact, I think he feels that basically, there are worse things my brother could be doing!). Basically, some demoninations see living and/or sleeping together without being married as less than ideal, but don’t ban or shun people who choose to do so.

kamila on

This is about celebrity children right so how did this turn into is it sinful to live with ones boyfriend. Frankly its no ones business what goes on in her house. Her kids seem well adjusted and “normal”. I think some of you girls need to get off your high horses

Hea on

We’ve been on a first name basis in Sweden since, I think, the 1960′s. Children here are usually well mannered anyway.

alice jane on

There are plenty of churches of plenty of denominations that don’t condemn a couple for living together before marriage.

Anyway, to the point… I think Reese seems like a really great mom whose kids are going to grow up to be well-adujsted, happy kids (I hope). I thought the story about her giving each of them $5 a week is cute.

crystal on

I say Bravo to Reese! I’m a Southerner & the way she is raising her children is exactly how I along with most of my friends & family were raised. I’m 32 & still say ‘Yes Mam’ & ‘No Sir”. I also still put Miss or Mr in front of older peoples names. But I will say it is more of an Old Southern way. Not everyone is carrying on with that tradition. My husband is a born & raised LA guy & he was shocked at the ‘yes Mam’ kind of thing, he had never heard anyone say it before he met me.

I was once in the ministry & will have to agree with CelebBabyLover about the church thing. None of the churches I know will make someone not attend for living with someone. Sure it is preferred they be married though. But we do not know for sure they live together.

Jane on

I’m from the North and teaching children manners and respect for all is very important in my family.
However, I always feel uncomfortable when someone refers to me as
Ma’am- as in “yes, ma’am. I am not used to that and it always seems too formal to me! I also really don’t like the whole “Miss First Name” thing… I guess first names are fine with me in many cases, or if anything, Miss or Mrs… with the last name! I guess in the end it is more about the sincerity of the respect.

mom of 3 boys on

I too am a firm believer that children should not call adults by their first name. As a military family, my boys call people Miss or Mr. and then their first name. I have always liked Reese and glad to hear that she has her firm beliefs too

Jenni on

Ironically I am the same way with my two boys. They use manners at all times. They are NEVER to call an adult by their first name unless they are a cousin. Otherwise everyone has a title, Miss, Mister, and such. And for my close friends who see the boys on a regular bases my sons have chosen to call them Aunt or Uncle. I was raised with those manners from my Grandfather. And that is something I want my two boys to do. They say please, thanks you, may I and such.

People don’t take the time to instill those simple and beautiful things in their kids anymore. It’s pretty much you say please and thank you and the parents end manners with that. I am raising gentlemen in my house, not the urchins you see on TV.

SH on

kamila, i think people are going there because it’s kinda like “practice what you preach” sort of thing. reese is claiming to have this great upbringing herself that she’s trying to give her children…yet she herself is divorced and might be living with her boyfriend. not that those things are all that bad. i also believe that it takes a whole lot more to teach kids manners than how they address adults and bringing them to church.

Lauren on

I was raised in the south and now live in the north. I don’t think that people from one region raise their kids to be more polite, only that the cultural standards are different. I too was raised not to call adults by their first names alone–only Miss So-and-so, for instance—and still have trouble at 26 calling people from an older generation by their names :) However, I don’t think that means people not raised that way are somehow rude…only that it’s a different culture.

Jas on

I love the fact that Reese believes in teaching her kids to address adults with either Miss or Mr.

Harley on

I don’t think she’s trashing the North. I think she’s just comparing a vast majority of the kids in LA to the southern-style she was raised in. If she spent every interview going into every detail, we’d still be reading this from yesterday. Don’t be so offended by it.

If I’m not mistaken…we’re all sinners (according to the church). Not every church requires you to be married before you live with someone…if she’s even living with Jake. We’re all responsible for the things we do in our lives and if it’s such an issue when she dies and stands in front of the All Mighty, then it will be addressed. Also, if I’m not mistaken, aren’t we supposed to be non-judgemental to a certain degree? Gosh, what a concept.

Focus on the points she makes in the way she raises her children. I grew up in MS, AL, AK, WA, MN, OR, CA, and VA and was taught the same set of manners. Adults that we were very familiar with were called Miss Gail, Mister Tim, etc. We also held doors for people, picked things up others dropped, said ‘excuse me’ and all that. My mom was born and raised in NY and my father was born and raised in MS, regardless of that my mom was the true enforcer of proper manners and yet, neither of us are offended by what she said.

Jen K on

I HATE HATE HATE when someone calls me Miss Jennifer. If a person asks you to call them by their first name, I think you should be respectful enough to call them what they wish.

Morgan on

I applaud Reese for her attitude towards instilling values in her children; whatever her motivations. For those who’d rather bash her or her motivations, forgive me for my impertinence, but why?

kat on

I absolutely believe in instilling those manners early. My sons both now say yes, ma’am or yes, sir (and no, ma’am, no, sir) without thinking about it… because we made a conscious effort to do that.

I wasn’t raised saying those things, but my husband and my best friend both were, and I saw quickly how that shaped them into much more instinctively polite people.

I think too many kids today are allowed to act too familiar with adults… as though they were equals. But it’s not the case. Kids need to remember that adults are above them in age and respect and who is in charge.

kat on

oh, and my kids are not allowed to call adults by their first names. While they might do so before being able to pronounce aunt/uncle or before it is habit, we are constantly reminding and encouraging them to call an adult either aunt/uncle____ or Miss/Mrs./Ms._____ or Mr._____ with either the first name or last name.

Ms. please on

It’s proper to introduce people to children with their full name and title. But the adult should decide what the children call them. When I give permission for a child to call me by my first name, I absolutely hate it when the parent overrides me. It’s MY NAME, gosh darn it, call me by it. And I’m not “Miss” or “Mrs” anything, it’s Ms. I highly doubt if the kids say Mr. Jake or Miss Abbie. That sounds so cold.

CharlieB on

For those of you who don’t agree with her asking her kids to call adults by their titles; I think her reasoning behind it is not so that her children will always say “Miss Shannon” or “Mr. Smith”, I think it’s morebthat she’s trying to set a standard of respect that her children must abide by. It’s not about what they adress their elders by, I think it’s that she wants them to show respect to others, including their elders, in all of their dealings with them and to show them how to respect their elders she’s teaching them basic manners. When they realize they can’t just call this person or that person by their first name like their buddies in school, they start to realize that a different level of social interaction is required with this person, that a higher level of respect is required of them when they’re speaking to them.

I think we need to look at the bigger picture here. I’m sure she’s showing them many other ways of showing respect to elders, but seeing as the interview was time limited she probably just gave the titles thing as an example. She’s not obligated to detail every single aspect of how she parents her children, she doesn’t have to justify it either.

I didn’t grow up in the states, but I don’t think she was insulting any particular area by saying she wanted to teach her kids “southern values”. She was merely saying that she was teaching them things that she was taught in the south. She didn’t say “what I was taught in the south but the northerners and the easterners and westerners don’t have”. I think a few people here are being way over sensitive.

And beth, there are plenty of churches who don’t have a problem with couples living together. In fact, some churches are even Christian enough to not judge people and their lifestyles. You should try it, judging people can take up alot of free time.

Whether or not reece teaches her children to say “Miss Shannon” or not, she seems like a very well-rounded individual and is doing a great job with her kids.

Morgan on

VERY well said, Charlie!! :)

Ann on

Ms. Please

Sorry but parents overrule you any and every day of the week. I grew up in the North, I know live in the South and I hate being called Miss Ann, I am married, I am a Mrs. But you know what, the parents are teaching their children their idea of manners and family rules and I am not going to overrule their family rules. It would really tick me off if I taught my children one thing and someone says oh you don’t have to do that with me. Oh yes they do. So I live with being called Miss Ann and teach my children to call our neighbors Mr and Mrs. Smith which is how I was raised. You are not the parent.

Anna on

I’m a little annoyed by the “Southern” generalization just as I was annoyed by Cindy Crawford’s “Midwest people teach their kids to do chores” generalization.

I don’t think that when Reese said she teaches her kids “Southern values” that that means she herself lives up to every religious ideal that you would find in the South. She just meant conservative values that teach kids to respect adults.

Anna on

Also, just because someone mentions “hey, in traditional Southern values, people don’t live together before marriage” does NOT mean that they are judging anyone! They are simply stating a fact.

If you live with your partner before marriage, you are violating many religions’ values. Get over it, make your choice, but don’t try to say that you can still be a “good” Christian if you don’t want to try to live the lifestyle that goes along with it. Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways.

Janine on

I was born and raised in the North and we had rules and regulations in our home. Not the same for those in our neighborhood…in fact, a neighbor would curse at his parents and call them by their first name at the drop of a hat. My family thought that was rude and so wrong. But I was raised by parents who were Southerners. :) … I now live in Nashville and I LOVE IT! I love to see children who respect their elders…call them Mr. and Miss. All three of my kids says “yes ma’am/sir” and “no ma’am/sir”. They’re even taught that at school…it shows respect. I totally agree with Reece…there’s just something about Southern Living and Hospitality that can’t be explained. :) I LOVE IT!!! I love walking down the street and total strangers speak to one another – didn’t get that in Wisconsin! I love the what-you-need mentality vs the I’m out for myself attitude of the North…again I can say this because I was born and raised in the North and the comparison is off the chart. Wouldn’t move back to the North if someone paid me.

Far as her living with Jake – last I heard they weren’t. There’s no big sin no little sin … what makes her a bad person if she’s living with him vs someone getting drunk? No I can’t judge her but the Bible does not condone pre-marital sex. That’s simply The Word!!! So I pray that while she’s participating in church she does repent and live according to God’s Word (not the World’s – LA or Nashville – style of living). At least she’s putting a good foot forward by having her children attend a church!

GOOD JOB REECE!

kris on

“One question thought-what church does she go to that condones living with someone?” I would say the same one that was ok with her and her ex getting married when she was 6 month pregnant.

I guess I look at it as, she and her ex seem to be doing a good job giving their kids as much of a normal life as they can. Hence the going to church (like she did as a child) and going back to her roots for vacations. They seem to take parenting very seriously and that is a good thing especially when your kids are surrounded by all the glitz and glamor of Hollywood.

I tend to take these celeb interviews with a grain of salt. To me they often come across as very “this is how I do it and therefore this is the right way to do it” and a lot of that probably has to do with how the articles are written.

Jax on

Anna– You need a lesson in Women Studies 100 before you go making a comment like that. If God is truly what he says he is, then regards of people living together before marriage wouldn’t matter. As long as they are happy and being respectful to others and enjoying life. I’m a lesbian …Does that mean its wrong? No- it means that God has created me this way. I see it through some of the most beautiful women in my life. Try taking your head out of your ass once in a while and look around at your surroundings—Okay, Take a more in depth look at the world…… You’d be surprised!

Nicole on

No one is saying anyone is horrible person for living together, being gay, etc. We are all sinners! We are just saying what certain religions teach. It’s a fact that having sex outside of marriage is a mortal sin according to the RCC for example. If you don’t like what a religion teaches that is your choice, but it doesn’t make anyone judgemental for talking about religious opinions on various sins.

CelebBabyLover on

Ms. Please- First of all, great username! That said, I 100 percent agree with you! Thus far, I haven’t had any kids address me as as “Miss________(my first name)”, but to be honest, I hate even the thought of it! Being called “Miss” doesn’t bother me, but calling someone “Miss________ (insert first name here)” seems so old-fashioned to me. It also seems just weird to me for someone to be calling someone my age “Miss______(insert first name here)”.

When I picture someone being called “Miss_______”, I picture a woman who’s at least in her mid-thirties. When I picture someone being called “Mrs.___________” or “Ms._________” (especially the latter), well, frankly, I picture an old lady (not that there’s anything wrong with old ladies!). The one exception is if it’s being used in a school or similar setting (for example, I have a relative who is a teacher’s assitant, and they actually allow the kids to call them “Mrs. Kate” or “Mr. Andrew” rather than the more traditonal “Mrs. Smith” or “Mr. Jones”).

To be perfectly honest, I think people have every right to make the decision about how their own name should be used!

Jax- I completely agree with you as well!

Gianna on

I agree with beth and anna, the church does not agree with living with someone without marriage. Does it make you a bad person no, but from someone like me that goes to church every week and not just for easter or christmas like some do, I can tell you getting knocked up before your married or living with a guy without marriage is considered a sin. And nicole not everyone in staten island is rude, I grew up there as do many people I know and they have manners. I don’t believe that only people in the south are polite, there’s polite people everywhere CA, NY, Florida, etc, etc, it depends on how the parents raise their kids not where you live. Reese seems to have this thing about her in interviews, she always comes across in my opinion like she thinks she is above everybody else. Most celebrities I like reading or seeing them on interviews, but she seems kinda phony in my opinion.

alice jane on

Ms Please I agree with you. I’m all for parents teaching kids to respect their elders, but if a person is just not comfortable with being called Miss Alice or whatever, I think the parent also needs to respect that person’s wishes. It’s about leading by example – if you tell your child to call someone Miss, but that person isn’t comfortable with it, it would, in my opinion, be totally disrespectful to disregard that person’s wishes.

asm1976 on

Well, I have lived in Nashville, TN most of my life and I can say that the whole “Miss Suzy” “Mr Ronnie” is something I just hate! I have a son and I always introduce people to him as their first name only, or Mr. Jackson, or Miss Miller. It’s too Plantation-ish for me actually. I am 32, and I also can’t stand when my co-workers tell their 5 year old to call me Miss with my first name. It makes me feel like an old woman, and I also have a non-traditional first name, which sounds silly with Miss on the front. It is definitely a southern thing but I was born in NJ, where my mom grew up and I am simply not that Southern!LOL

asm1976 on

Also, Reese is from Nashville, but she grew up a somewhat of a rich girl. She grew up in one of the wealthier parts of town and went to one of the most prestigous all girl schools in Nashville. She definitely had a different sort of “southern” upbringing which is probably why she comes off as snobbish or holier than though in some of her interviews as someone stated.

SouthernBelle on

When some of the childrens’ clothing companies sent gifts to Reese after the birth of her children, Dr. Witherspoon, Reese’s father, sent hand-written thank-you notes of appreciation. That’s just an example of how we were raised in the South…to acknowledge a kindness, to show our thanks and to let someone know they are appreciated and respected and we sometimes do that in a manner that may be considered to be more formal by some people. It’s certainly not to point out that we think we are better than others that do not come from the South. The Witherspoons were my neighbors when I lived in Tennessee. Reese’s father was my husband’s doctor. He and Betty are very down-to-earth people who are respectful to people and taught their children to show respect to people – in the manner in which they were raised. Yes, they are people of means, but they got there through hard work and getting a good education. Reese had a more privileged upbringing than her parents because her parents did well and wanted more for their children. Reese went to a prestigious school, was a debutante and had a “coming out” ceremony and party, but that is how her parents chose to raise her. They instilled good morals and values in her, but ultimately aren’t responsible for the mistakes/choices she has made. And who of us haven’t made mistakes? I was raised going to church and continue to do so, but I leave the judging of others to God. I have no room to judge, because I’m not perfect. And I haven’t always done what I was taught to do and even what my church believes. Again, who hasn’t made mistakes? It’s a personal decision what you do with those mistakes.

Yes, we were taught to say “Thank you,” “Yes, ma’am,” “No, sir,” and to call adults by a title (Miss, Mrs., Aunt, Mr.) to show respect. It’s just the way things are and have been through the centuries in the South. Again, it’s purpose is not to make anyone feel uncomfortable or bad about themselves and it’s not to prove anything. It’s the way children were brought up to show respect to their elders…and I STILL say those things to this day and will not address an older person by their name unless there is a title attached…and it doesn’t mean I think they have one foot in the grave! It’s simply respect. I’ve never met anyone who has complained of being offended by it or by my children doing it. I think Reese is just trying to express that she considers all of those things she was taught to be important, maybe even more so since she has become a mother, and she’s passing along those same particulars of her upbringing to her children. In an environment where those same things may not be done, she may just be trying to clarify why she chooses to raise her children a certain way. She explains that those choices do go back to her Southern roots.

Crystal on

Hi,
I like Reese Witherspoon as an actress. The article mentions good things she does with her kids. I am a southerner. I believe Northerners are well mannered too. The yes maam and no sir is a bit more formal here and people always nod and wave to people even if they do not know them.We talk to people we don’t even know! I am not sure or her living arrangements, but I was in a situation where I lived with and later married the father of my children. I am a Christian, who was what I refer to as backslidden, and I dealt with the guilt until I could make things right with God. I am a Southern Baptist , if anyone is curious about the denomination. By saying this , you can see that I pass no judgement on any one at all, but the Bible is very clear on what God wants for our relationships. I asked for forgiveness and meant it with my whole heart. God forgave me and my family is intact.

Roise on

I grew up calling anyone older than me “Miss” or “Mister” First Name if they weren’t that much older than me (like when I was six and my Sunday school teacher was 19) and ALWAYS “Mr.” and “Mrs.” if they were married.

And now, here I am 25 years old, and I still call those people Miss/Mr First Name or Mr. and Mrs. Married Name. And their kids are now calling me “Miss”…it’s hilarious to see the circle.

But having been raised that way, I can’t imagine calling these people anything else. Even though they’ve told me I can address them by their first name, I still don’t feel right doing it, and they understand. They also understand that I’m not disrespecting them by NOT calling them by their first name only, but that some habits are hard to break, and thankfully, this (I believe) isn’t a bad habit to have. Maybe one day, when I’m older, I’ll call them by their first name only.

And yes, I was raised in the south but my dad is from Ireland and my mom is from the Philippines, and how my brothers and I were raised is how my parents were raised in their respective countries. So I don’t believe it’s necessarily a regional thing, but possibly a cultural.

Angelique on

asm1976, You’re so right that “Miss Suzy” or “Mr. Billy” does have that whole Plantation feel to it — not something I want to perpetuate or glorify in any way.

I agree with the others who say that ultimately, what you call someone is about respect, and the most respectful thing is to ask what someone wants to be called and use THAT name or title.

#33, Ms. Please, you are SO RIGHT. I ask kids to call me my first name and I’ve heard parents say, “We want our kids to be respectful, so they’ll call you Miss. . . ” Wait a minute. You’re teaching them that my wishes and preferences for my OWN NAME don’t matter. . . How is that teaching respect?

lsugirl on

I agree with Reese, people from and raised in the south certainly have the best manners. When I visit above the Mason-Dixon line, it’s lost. Children do not even say Mr. or Ms. when addressing their elders, nor do they say “yes/no sir or mam” It’s not a generalization, it’s the truth.

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