When my children were young, they disliked talking on the telephone. They seemed particularly shy when it came to conversing with adults or people they did not know. Although, I taught my kids, as we must, not to talk to strangers, this teaching resulted in them hesitating later in life. The kids were almost afraid to approach people, and they nearly refused to engage in a conversation with strangers.
This problem occurred to me when my son turned eleven, so I set out to remedy the situation. I started by teaching him and his little sister, to ask questions. When people phoned our home, I instructed them to ask the normal stuff like, “May, I ask who’s calling?” To encourage this, I asked them to answer the phone when it rang. If the call was for me, I asked the kids, “Who is it?”
Finally, they became laid back when answering the phone and talking with the unknown callers. At this point, I started coaxing them to call and order a pizza. To place an order, they had to answer questions, provide their phone number and, their address. They learned to ask questions concerning prices and arrival times.
When they wanted to see a movie or go swimming, they phoned for show times, opening, and closing hours, etc. If I needed something like a new toaster, I would have them call and get information on pricing and store hours. This idea helped the children overcome their insecurities, although it did annoy them. When Walmart moved into our area, things got even better. The kids learned about transfers to other departments. Before long, the kids were asking for the electronic department and so forth. In addition, I helped them learn how to use the phone book and directory assistance.
I found this to be a superb way to teach my children conduct and phone skills that proved useful to them later. This method worked to help them overcome shyness and the fear that they had felt, when it came to strangers. They naturally became comfortable asking questions of the store clerks, later as well. I recently asked my seven year-old grandson to go and ask where something was, in a store. Although he hesitated, he came back and proudly guided me to the item.
I smile when I think of my seemingly absurd method of teaching, using the telephone. However, both of our children landed, their first quality jobs, at a call center. Their communication skills as well as their phone skills assisted them in promotions and achieving higher education. I believe this idea helped my children learn to be assertive.