I gave the instruction and calmly waited for the appropriate response; what I got was silence. I repeated myself one more time and… you could hear crickets chirping. If there is one reply which I find completely inappropriate, besides “what“, it’s a lack of response altogether.

The underlying issue with my children’s silence, isn’t the silence itself. Rather, it is the lack of acknowledgement. I want my children to listen for the sound of my voice and immediately take action.


Why is this important? For several reasons, really. My first reason is for safety; I won’t always have the time to call them multiple times in order to get their attention. What if there were an emergency and they needed to hear me right away? They need to listen and take action! Secondly; it’s a matter of respect. If an adult is speaking to them, it is important they stop what they are doing and take note. Lastly, while this might just be a personal preference, it is extremely frustrating. Who likes talking to someone and getting no reply? I’m not asking for a long explanation, just to know I was heard.

So, if silence and “what” aren’t the proper responses, what feedback would I like to hear? There are several which our children have been taught. They are welcome to announce, “I’m coming!”; “On my way!”; “Moving!”; “Just a moment, please!”; “Yes, mom?” or any such retort.

As long as they acknowledge they have been spoken to and show appropriate action, we are good to go.

What response to you expect when calling your children?


11 thoughts on “RSVP

  1. I agree with you that they should at least acknowledge that they have been spoken to; maybe it is because that is how I was raised. My expectations are different than when I was growing up as my stepson was born here in the South and this is where we are currently living, where as I was raised in the North. I would like to hear the responses you have mentioned along with “Yes, Ma’am.”


  2. This is a work in progress for us as well. I am constantly reminding my kids to respond immediately with “Coming,” or “Yes, Mom.” Some days are better than others.


  3. I, too, need an acknowledgement. Preferably a “yes ma’am” or even “got it … Doing it”. I’m not a fan of “in a minute” unless they are in the bathroom :). I have one that will “in a minute” me all day long.


  4. I agree, just as, on the flip side, we as mom should respond when our kids are talking to us. Isn’t it easy when we hear “mom, Mom…MOM…. mooommmm!” all day to reply with a not so calm “What!” I’ve even caught myself with the classic “Mmhmm” or “Uh huh” when not really listening to them with my full attention. (yes, I admit this *sigh*).
    One reply I don’t accept from my kids is anything that starts with “but”. I tell them I am not a “butt mom” ;^) They can question what I am asking them, but they can start it with a proper sentence.
    Good post btw! I always enjoy your thoughts and ponderings. =)


  5. I agree and am amazed at the number of people who DON’T expect the same courtesy from their children as they would another adult. Ma’am seems to happen somewhat naturally, and they instinctively know that if they are in trouble using Ma’am will temper my wrath somewhat…but they have to give some response. Nice post!


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