When I was a kid and friends would call my house, they'd often ask, "Is Jeanne there?" My father would answer, "Yes," and then say nothing. He was waiting, of course, for them to politely ask to speak with me.
At the time, I was mortified. Now my daughter is getting several phone calls a night, and folks, I think I'm turning into my Dad! I haven't tortured the rude little brats yet, but ohhhh, I'm tempted!
As it is, I cringe every time I note the number of one of her little friends on the caller ID. I know how this is going to go.
I'm going to answer the phone with a nice, normal, "Hello" and I'm going to hear one of the following: silence, a giggle, or "Hi" followed by nothing else. If I'm lucky, I will have taken note of the number and be able to call the child out by name. Then I'll have to prod them into talking to me, finally eliciting a request to talk to my daughter.
Oh, and if my daughter isn't home when one of the now incessant calls comes in? Well then things will really be a mess, because they don't know how to actually get off the phone. I get more giggles, more dead air, and an overwhelming temptation to just hang up on them to teach them a lesson.
Does this frustration mean I've gotten old? Or are today's kids seriously lacking in phone manners?
I was kvetching about the latest giggler to a friend who pointed out that she doesn't even have a landline. Neither of her kids has real phone practice. The way she sees it, that's what sets kids apart today. Fewer and fewer have landline phones ringing in their homes. Fewer and fewer are using phones to actually talk. They FaceTime with Granny. They text.
I'd give her all that if I didn't remember my dad's phone frustrations. What was the excuse for kids' crappy phone manners back in the day, then? All we had were landlines!
Then again, my dad ran a business out of our home. I was schooled in proper phone etiquette practically from the time I could say "Hello" because ours wasn't just a family phone. It was a business line too, and in the midst of answering calls from my friends, I was acting as a dispatcher for the company, fielding calls about this restaurant's freezer on the fritz or that farmer's bulk tank in need of repair.
Perhaps I'm more sensitive because of it?
I know my husband and I have drilled our daughter on proper phone etiquette over and over and over again, and if we catch her saying "hello" without identifying herself, we start the lessons all over again. Maybe she's "not like the other kids," but at least her friends' parents don't have the overwhelming temptation to hang up on her.
Is your kid getting phone calls already? Do the phone manners drive you crazy?
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