Introduction Basics

Posted on December 28, 2007. Filed under: Family Life | Tags: , , , |

Photo by PoagaoPhone
A boy called our home the other day to speak to one of my teenage daughters. When my husband picked up the phone, the boy introduced himself and asked for my daughter. When he was told she wasn’t home, he asked if he could leave a message and thanked my husband afterwards.

None of this may seem eventful, but it was the topic of MAJOR discussion in our home because this is the first boy who has called the house who seems to know how to actually use the phone. Others have called and asked for my daughter without greeting the person picking up the phone. Some have called after 11PM, and there was one who simply hung up the phone whenever and adult answered. Is it really too much to ask kids to engage in standard greetings with adults? It’s ridiculous that kids seem so uncomfortable simply saying hello and greeting adults.

I recently walked my daughter through the specific steps she should take when introducing her friends to me, because I wanted her to set the tone for how her friends should greet me and to give them some guidance. It also just makes things easier because I do not have the same last name as my children so it helps the kids to know what name to use. Part of this was prompted because her introductions had become “this is my mom”—as if I have no name or identity. When I told my daughter I wanted her friends to call me by my last name, she seemed surprised. This is partly because I allowed her friends to call me by my first name when she was younger. However, as she (and her friends) became teenagers, I found that they started to treat adults with less respect and more disdain. As a result, the respect that younger kids give to adults doesn’t make the use of last names as necessary. But as they get older—and less respectful—and we have to set more limits as parents–I like to have them reminded that they should treat adults with some respect, and should definitely address adults by their sir names. Lastly, it’s a sign of respect and it’s better for my kids to err on the side of formality and having adults tell them to call them by their first name, than to be informal and offend someone. If they can do it with their teachers, they can do it with their friends’ parents.

I never thought the day would come when I would be so “ol’ school” and insist on the use of formal names and appropriate introductions when kids talk to adults. But then again, I did not expect to have boys call my house and think it’s OK to simply hang up the phone if I was the one who answered the phone.



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2 Responses to “Introduction Basics”

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ummm…maybe i understand what ur saying….but i don’t think it should of been blown up into as huge of a discussion as it was MOM!……i dont think its fair for you to get mad at your daughter because of these other boy’s mistakes…oh plus u have to admit i have improved dramatically with introducing you to my friends!

Yes, you have improved and it has made things A LOT easier. I am not mad at you for their behavior, but want you to know it is not acceptable so that (1) you never do that, and (2) you tell your friends that when they call the house, there is a certain way they should behave on the phone. I’ve noticed that has improved too.

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    Musings on how a disorganized woman with a full time job, three kids and a real need to relax is trying to make life simple.

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