Is it rude for a kid to reply with 'what' to an adult?

Is it actually ‘rude’ for a kid to reply what to an adult? I don’t think it personally is but my boyfriend of 2 years got snippy with my 9 year old when he said dinner was done and she didn’t hear him and said “what” it was NOT even with a tone…I dont get it…if you reply what when you dont hear someone it isnt rude but if my kid does it it is??


Absolutely, and adults sound ignorant, responding with “what.”
I have 5 children ranging from 5 to 30. They learned their manners since they learned to talk, and how you respond is a part of manners.
If I’m calling them or addressing them, their response is always, yes. If they did not hear me or someone else it is, pardon, or I’m sorry, can you repeat that. Manners are important internationally.


i think its ridiculous if someone finds the word what disrespectful :roll_eyes: if their tone is disrespectful thats one thing, but other then that ppl just need to get over themselves.


Some people just want to be the boss over someone else. That what this sounds like to me. I try to treat my son like he’s human, not less of a person because he’s younger and I’m older. Respect goes both ways.


My kids can ask us “what?” If they didn’t hear what we said, however, if we call their name… they do not “what?” Us. They either say “yes, mom/dad?” Or they come to where we’re at. It is disrespectful in our house to what somebody.


My dad drilled it in my head at an early age to say pardon… I would say what or huh? And he would just say PARDON? Really loud until I got the picture loud and clear lol… now pardon always comes to my mind first when I couldn’t hear something the first time :relaxed:


Saying “what” is literally asking a question. People are odd… if they didn’t hear you and respond with what, as in “what did you say” it’s not disrespectful. Repeat yourself so they can hear what you said. Problem solved.


Time to show him the door, if he’s knit picking over that. It’s just the beginning.


Speaking as a southern mama of 3, I was raised to say “yes ma’am, no ma’am etc” and my children are being raised the same way. If I call one of my girls and they answer with what- they will have one chance to correct it to yes ma’am or ma’am. Whether they have an attitude or tone behind it or not children shouldn’t say what to an adult… this is just my opinion and how I raise my kids. Every parent is different and has different parenting styles.


Yes saying what is disrespectful when talking to an adult just the same it is disrespectful for a adult to say it to a child. If you wanna teach your children manners you have to use them as well. That’s my personal opinion manners don’t cost a thing.


As long as there’s not an attitude behind it… who cares? They mimic the communication they learn from us…


My granddad (died in his 80s about 20 years ago) always said… “don’t say ‘what’, you sound stupid.”


Some of these replies tho…. Jesus …. Im honestly white, from alberta and I ain’t no Mississippi queen,
My kids get yelled at to come down for dinner and say WHAT sometimes 3 times lol. They don’t hear me im not going to punish them. Who goes on a power trip cuz a kid said what to them , red flag!
Teaching them things like pardon , now that’s moving forwards , but there ain’t no way im ever going to distinguish authority by making my kids call me ma’am. :woman_facepalming: im too young for that crap. Im mom, and when my kids don’t hear something they say what. Frikkin sue me
Im editing this to add that my entire family is southern on my moms side . I just read this to my aunty and the lower comments of moms insisting their kids say yes mam no mam and she laughed and said it’s not 1960 anymore . :rofl: YALL are a little further behind over there though it’s ok lol. Even little over a century ago y’all were still slavin…


I have personally taught my kids you come when called for or respond with hold on please I’m doing… I came from a seen not heard Era
Edit to add yes tone is important with response


I want my children to come when called. Even if they dont hear, come so you can hear more clearly. “What” does get to me, but not enough to go off. Now, if Ive screamed your name numerous times and Im still just getting what, I do address that.


The only time I remember getting in trouble for answering “what” to an adult was when I was in an abusive foster home. I don’t see anything wrong with it as a mom of 3, nor did any adults in my life have a problem with it, other than the abusive one.


My kids are not to reply with “ what” when I call their name. They are expected to come out of their room or wherever they are, and speak to me in person.


If my kids don’t hear me they say “ma’am?” In our house “what” as a response is disrespectful


They will speak how they are taught. It’s honestly an easy fix if you don’t like the word. Instead of getting mad use it as a teaching opportunity. Example: child’s name, next time will you please say (insert what you want them to say) instead of what? The child will most likely reply with a yes.


I don’t see the problem… unless you’re calling for her and her reply is to yell what from a different room then it’s not disrespectful. I do firmly believe that a child yelling what when you call them is disrespectful though


This thread is wild to me. “What” is just a questioning word. I don’t see it as rude at all. Everything(besides like straight up swears) is all about tone and context. I use it a lot when I’m confused about something for example and need clarification. I feel like manners and formality are being confused here

If they didn’t hear you then it shouldn’t be a big deal, but I also know from experience that if they’re just blatantly not paying attention and have said “what” 5 times to the same thing then it can be incredibly frustrating. Either way, that’s a child, redirect negative behaviors, help them do better instead of putting them down and not teaching them

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If you don’t have a problem with it then even if it is disrespectful to some, your daughter was never taught that so she can’t be doing anything wrong. Also, I agree with you and don’t know what else she is supposed to say if she didn’t hear


Your bf has a control issue. He needs something to tell at your daughter about to feel superior to her & to cause drama with you. Tell him it’s not his place what is acceptable or not. It’s not his kid. Start saving money so you & your daughter can live a happier life with him.


When I call for my daughter who 9 and she says what, I reply with I don’t answer to what come and see me, and in return if she calls for me I never respond with what either

The more polite way would be to say pardon me or sorry, I didnt hear you. However, the bottom line is YOU are your childs mother and your boyfriend is NOT the childs father. Wether some think it is rude or some think it is not, has no bearing. It is up to you how you want to raise your children. If saying what bothers your boyfriend he has no right to say anything about that directly to your child. He should discuss it with you and you can then consider his opinion and choose wether you would like to teach your child a different way of responding or not. If you think it is fine and he doesn’t that is his problem. Him getting snippy with the child is TOTALLY wrong. The response is what has been taught. His real issue is actually with you. It is you that has taught the child to respond this way. If he personally says what as a response to others himself then get rid of him. It’s not right to get mad at a child for responding in the same manner. They learn from example.

In the south it’s very disrespectful :woman_shrugging:t2:


My kids don’t answer with what?..they answer with yes? He’s not wrong.


Some of these comments are disturbing really…
That’s a F*** NO for me. He would have had to go… it sounds like
it could potentially be the beginning of something worse (I was physically abused
by a step parent & it starts just like that). That is absolutely ridiculous.
Even if she did have an attitude it is not his place to correct her.
It is her parents (Mother & or Father) place.
Manners is a social behavior & not your choice of words.
you can have “good choice of words” with no manners. Again manners
is your social BEHAVIOR & not your choice of WORDS.
Another persons comment said perfectly:
“Some people just want to be the boss over someone else.
That what this sounds like to me.
I try to treat my son like he’s human, not less of a person
because he’s younger and I’m older. Respect goes both ways.”

This has happened to me before as an adult. asking “What??” because I
didn’t hear something. Like how toxic & controlling do you have to
be to get mad over nothing.

I was raised ) adopted and my parents were older. We could not say what … for any reason

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It is rude in my opinion. Especially to any adult. But any individual should correct a child not get snippy with a child. Children do as they see. Every parent is different I expect a yes ma’am yes sir, or ma’am or sir from my boys. Bc I expect it I do as I teach them. There’s nothing ridiculous about it it’s just respect Especially within this age of society we live in. I don’t get snippy onto others Children though but I do ask students to respond back with respect.

I was raised to say pardon if I didn’t hear… What was considered rude in my household as well

How exactly should the child reply? My kids always say what, or what’s up :woman_shrugging:


I don’t like when my 3 year old and 2 year old say what to me. More of a respect thing I think, I would rather them say. Yes mom ir something of that sort

We all parent differently. If you feel like it isn’t rude, then in your home it isn’t rude. Your bf is new to your family dynamic, so let him know she wasn’t taught that is rude, because it hasn’t been an issue until he made it.

Boyfriend would need to stay in his lane and need not worry about my children… Sounds like he just has an issue and wants to be an authoritative figure that’s typically what it is when people get mad over little words like “what” esp with no tude behind it…


If yelled from another room yes it kind of is. If someone is speaking to you and you didn’t hear them then go directly to them and then ask “what did you say, I didn’t hear you” or “did you need me”. It’s context, tone and volume it’s said that can make it rude.

If you live it the south then most people will see the word alone coming from a kids mouth is rude. I live in the southland I care less about the words someone uses and more about the tone they said it with.

when I call they should come to me. if she came she would have heard him…

You said she didn’t hear him and she said what as in a question for he could clarify what he had said. It wasn’t rude or anything. But now if he said something and she heard him and replied what loudly and rudely then yes that’s a problem. My son says what a lot to me cause he doesn’t hear me or doesn’t understand what I was saying so he’ll say what for clarification.

If your boyfriend who’s obviously not your child’s father is snippy with your child or seems to have a problem with your child then maybe it’s time to get real and rethink your choice of having him around your child

No it’s not rude. Your boyfriend needs to rethink his attitude with your daughter. This is only my opinion.

the only time what would have been allowed in my house was followed by “did you say I couldn’t hear you.”

Depends on why or how it’s used. Did they clearly hear you? Did they understand?
Were they looking at you and paying attention?
Or did you ask them to do a chore or or say no to something?
That is the difference

As a kid it was considered rude. We had to say pardon or pardon me

Answering with a yes would be more appropriate but I don’t think it’s a problem depending on how the what was said.

If they’ve said it as a response before they can’t get mad at a kid saying it. The world has real and bigger problems than this guys ego. If there’s no tone there’s no problem.

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Tone does matter, especially as we get older

I don’t think it’s rude. I say what to my child

No, that’s not rude. I say "what " and “huh” all the time. I can’t hear for anything :woman_shrugging:

Depends on the tone of the answer!


What? Lol not a problem on the right text at all. And sounds like it was

I think it’s rude if u get no reply at all lol

He should honestly be glad he’s getting a response that’s not in a rude tone.


Actually it lack of manners instead of saying what should have said pardon it’s old fashioned rudeness

Get rid of the BF you should correct your own child not him !

In response to not hearing something it was acceptable. What or huh.

From another room or across the house when called? Absolutely not. If my name was called I had better get up and go. A “coming” or “one sec” and then going. That’s it.

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What? Its better than huh.

I don’t think it is… my 7 year old will say what if he don’t hear someone… when someone says something and I don’t hear them I say what as well…. I see nothing disrespectful about it if there isn’t a disrespectful tone to it……

Also in my opinion I don’t think ma’am or sir should be what they say…. Not everyone likes being called ma’am/sir… I hate being called ma’am


omg me and my 11 year old daughter just had this discussion. YES ITS VERY RUDE.

That "Boyfriend’ needs to be put out to pasture…WHATS rude is him dare saying such a thing…Have his bags packed . Show him the door…N bet he will say…What? N u say exactly…See ya!! DONT dare allow him to dictate to u or your son in that manner…Thats absurd!! Your not doing yourself or your son any good if u dare stay with him.

What did you say?? What was that? And Pardon ? That’s what I tell my adult kids and mokos That’s what I prefer buuuut if they said it like " whaaat??" With a I can’t hear you screwed eyes look like they really didn’t hear, lol That’s ok too lol but I prefer Pardon. I’d say that, and I’d only growl if they said “what!!” With attitude then I’d say “are you deaf??” Lol

It’s rude for and adult to expect a child to act like a fully grown adult :wink:
“What” is rude AF but kids only know what they are taught

That’s bullshit then. What is perfectly acceptable if it don’t come with tones or attitude.

We ask what as adults if we don’t hear right ? So why can’t kids???

I’d also have a firm conversation about boundaries n parenting your child n leave if he does not align

All my kids age ranging from 2-19 was taught with responding with “yes, ma’am, yes, Sir” when being called for, if they didn’t hear then they come to the room I’m in with “did you call for me”


This day and age kids say bruh :rofl: I say it to my son all the time 🤦🏽‍♀ Just get rid of the BF

Yeah, if you get butthurt over “what” that’s a YOU problem. :roll_eyes:


No, it’s not rude whatsoever.

My kids know better than to say certain words to me ans what is one of them.
If they didn’t hear me they can say excuse me? Or ma’am? Not what!
If I didn’t hear my boss I wouldn’t reply with what!
That’s as bad as saying ok in my book lol


I can’t imagine a boyfriend telling my child off


Absofuckinglutely not lol. People are way too sensitive

Sounds like the classic boyfriend attitude towards his girlfriends kids. I see it all the time in my regular life. Idk :neutral_face:


It’s rude in my house! It’s YES, never yeah or what.

Basic manners.

I personally don’t think it is rude. The only time I would deem it as such is if you have a major attitude when you say it. I sure hope he never has replied “what” to anyone because at that point, he’s just a hypocrite

Yes it’s rude. Baby should say sir or I didn’t hear you or something else never what

What does he say when he didn’t hear the conversation? Kick him to the curb. This is just the beginning of his behavior

First of all I never let my BF act snippy to my children. That’s not their place. They are not his kids. You have to watch that so your kids don’t get abused

Yes…my daughter does that sometimes and I said to her, I don’t respond like that to her so why she think it’s ok to respond with what.

I live in the South. If my kids don’t hear me, they say ma’am? We were tought it was rude to just say what

It sounds like he doesn’t like your son, so small things are starting to irritate him. I wouldn’t be with a man who is getting a power trip with my kids. Now if your son said, “What tf do you want?” That would be different :joy:


It’s good manners to say,”sir?” Or ma’am?” if you didn’t hear someone. “What?” is considered rude.
Or at least that’s how I was brought up.
To this day tho I’m an adult now I still reply the same way.

I think it’s the tone on how it’s said, I said it when I was a kid and I still say it specially when my kid is asking a question from the other room and I can’t hear them same for them when I’m talking to the from the other room .

I mean… no? My girls ask me what all the time when they didn’t hear me. I ask what to them and to others when I can’t hear them. It’s just a Way to ask someone to repeat themselves. Is there nicer more “polite” ways? Sure, but it’s no big deal when saying it. Especially to family or friends.

In my home my boys answer with yes, or yes mom. I do not go into the ma’am thing. However, I do think it is rude for a child to answer an adult by what. Especially, with an attitude. It’s a matter of teaching respect for your elders. However, to each’s own, but if you want a child to respect their elders, you have to teach them how.

Not so much the word but the tone of the voice

If she isn’t born into an upper class family then no… if she hasn’t been taught social etiquette then no… tell your boyfriend to go to etiquette classes before snapping with your child in future.

I can’t stand when my kids reply with what. They come when called or say i didn’t hear or, or respond in a respectful manner. I dont agree with your boyfriend telling her off though.

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It’s not rude if it’s how you expect them to speak to you, how can they know any different at 9?

Simple “Pardon” is good manners! On the other hand, what gives the boyfriend rights to tell your child off!

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Unless its with attitude or tone then i dont have an issue. Especially when im guilty of it too.
If you dont like it, and its not with a tone then address the issue and say "instead of saying what can you please say pardon (or how ever you want to be addressed) shes a child. Teach her :grinning:

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I personally find it rude, my children were taught to use “pardon”, I use the same

I don’t like it when my daughter responds with what, it’s just my preference. I don’t say anything to anyone else of their kids say what- it’s not my business

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What else are they supposed to say if they don’t hear you? I agree with the other commenter, that tone would be the issue , not what was actually said.

Ma’am or sir should be their response. Not “what?”


“Pardon me” would be my preference. I also find “what” quite rude for both children and adults.
Manners are learned and they become habits. Adults have a hard time changing from what they grew up with. Do you child a favour and teach them great table manners and habits. It will serve them well. :blush:

Reading these comments can tell you yanks were dragged up

I feel this is one thing that is a personal preference and it just goes with your style of parenting.

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I prefer my kids answer with pardon if they didn’t hear what was said to them.

Questions are allowed in our house. So it’s not a big deal when my son says, “what?”

Ma’am or sir is respectful. It was drilled in our heads to use as a child. I don’t require my children to always say it to me, but in public I ask them to use their manners.

I would say most adults and kids answer with what