To think that a 3 year old shouldn't do this?

(40 Posts)
MrsMushroom Wed 30-Jan-13 08:50:28

My cousin has a 3 year old son and he's not terribly verbal yet but he's bright as anything and is a happy little creature.

At any gathering, he wanders about taking food from other people's plates. My cousin laughs and says "I can't stop him" but AIBU to think er...yes you can!

It's annoying and DD hates it as she's very particular and she doesn't like a snotty-handed 3 year old sticking his hand in her food!

I said "I think you need to tell him not to do that" after he'd done it for the umpteenth time the other day and she said "I can't stop him can I?"


AIBU to think 3 is too old for this type of behaviour? ANd yes I probably AM being a bit judgy.

ArtVandelay Wed 30-Jan-13 08:54:29

Poor nephew. He's being steered into problems by your daft cousin. His behavior is completely reasonable for a child offered no boundaries. Have you asked your cousin why she feels utterly powerless in the face of such a small child?

I would tell him off myself (invites the wrath)

Callisto Wed 30-Jan-13 08:55:09

I would be pretty revolted by a random grubby child sticking his fingers in my food. And as this is not something that I have ever seen other children do, then obviously your cousin could stop him if she wanted to.

CuriousMama Wed 30-Jan-13 08:55:18

YANBU he'd never get away with that at nursery would he? Is he PFB by any chance?

Callisto Wed 30-Jan-13 08:55:58

I would tell him off too, Art.

ArtVandelay Wed 30-Jan-13 08:57:39

If his hands are snotty or dirty at the table that is also not his fault. An adult should have taken him to wash before the lunch started.

Alligatorpie Wed 30-Jan-13 08:57:44

Why would she think this is ok? I would tell him to stop - absolutely not ok.

MrsMushroom Wed 30-Jan-13 08:57:59

Mama yes he is PFB. smile

MrsMushroom Wed 30-Jan-13 08:58:58

I have no idea why she is like this with him...she's intelligent and reasonable in every other way.

MrsBucketxx Wed 30-Jan-13 08:59:11

my 16 month tried this and I told her no,

sounds like he has no boundaries.

N0tinmylife Wed 30-Jan-13 09:00:55

It's going to be an awful lot of fun in their house as he grows up, if she can't stop him doing whatever he wants already! Poor kid is going to grow up mto be a nightmare!

CailinDana Wed 30-Jan-13 09:02:22

YANBU. Poor child.

sparklyjumper Wed 30-Jan-13 09:05:07

He should absolutely not be allowed to do this. Yes a 3 year old might try but an adult should step in and say no , explain, and remove him if necessary.

diddl Wed 30-Jan-13 09:06:43

So no one else stops him either?

They all smile indulgently & say "awww!"??

Poor little thing.

How long until nursery/school?

She´s setting him up for a fall/shock!

anewyear Wed 30-Jan-13 09:09:47

Id be telling him not to do that also, yuk..

ArielThePiraticalMermaid Wed 30-Jan-13 09:14:23

I've been wondering about this issue. My nephew is two and a half and tries the same thing. I always say firmly "No. AuntyAriel's food" and he wanders off again. But apparently my sister and BIL have not objection to him begging off their plates. It's clearly a toddler thing (Disclaimer: I have no children). I took a chip off his plate once just to see what would happen - predictably he went berserk, but it was my sister who annoyed me when she said to me "Never, EVER take food off a toddler's plate!" as though I had committed this awful sin that all parents know about.

It all seemed very odd to me and pissed me off enormously

Anyway, sorry for hijack.....


YouOldSlag Wed 30-Jan-13 09:18:44

YANBU. Table manners can start early. She's setting herself up for a fall if she lets her 3yo think he is in charge.

My 3 yo is far from perfect but we give him lots of rules at the table and he never takes from the plates of others. It IS possible to train them at 3. They take in so much at that age. Your cousin is messing up here.

pigletmania Wed 30-Jan-13 11:28:14

Yanbu I wuld not allow this behaviour from my ASD dd

nickelbabe Wed 30-Jan-13 11:30:42

What would I do?

well, she can't stop the child from taking food from everyone else's plate, and she can't stop you taking food from plates either.

so next time they're round, take stuff from her plate. All the better if it's mash and you use your hands.
Do it every time her DS does it. she might start to get the message that it's not right.

wreckedone Wed 30-Jan-13 11:32:23

I don't think it's acceptable from a 3yo. Although thinking back to my Grandma's 90th birthday party in September, when my lad was 16mo, he did wander round looking to see what was on people's plates, and was given food off several people's plates-at the time it didn't seem like a huge deal and he tried all sorts of different foods that he hadn't had before. I'm not sure I'd let him do the same even now though, 4 months on.

nickelbabe Wed 30-Jan-13 11:32:26

haha i didn't see Ariel's post grin

SooticaTheWitchesCat Wed 30-Jan-13 11:44:27

YANBU it isn't acceptable behaviour, Of course his mum can stop him and she needs to before he starts school or he is going to be in trouble.

KC225 Wed 30-Jan-13 11:46:10

one word: handcuffs

KellyElly Wed 30-Jan-13 11:48:07

No three is not to old for this type of behaviour if it hasn't gone unchecked. It's the parents letting them do it. My DD would beg from anyone with cake/ice cream/sweets (add anything she loves) if I let her as they are a bit like puppies at that age grin I don't let her so she doesn't even try.

BupcakesAndCunting Wed 30-Jan-13 11:50:13

It's not that she can't stop him but rather that she can't be arsed to stop him.


sunshineandshowers Wed 30-Jan-13 11:58:27

have you asked her why she feels so powerless?

have you explained a similar sitautoin that you might have solved by being assertive with a young child?

Does she have low self esteem.

Most people IMO are not lazy. they may have just had poor examples during their own childhood, or lack the education to research how to change or lack confidence to apply change.

Bakingtins Wed 30-Jan-13 13:10:00

YANBU. Not acceptable from any child old enough to toddle to the plate. Wouldn't be surprised at a toddler trying it a few times, but would expect the parent to stop him and explain that you only eat from your own plate.

5madthings Wed 30-Jan-13 13:15:10

Well him trying to pinch food off plates isn't unusual for a toddler but normally they get told its not acceptable.

Dd is 25mths and would do this if I let her, but I don't let her.

Are his parents lax over other boundaries?

BertieBotts Wed 30-Jan-13 13:19:31

Maybe she thinks he isn't old enough to understand yet? It's not even something you need to teach particularly harshly, a gentle "No, that's grandma's plate. This is <child>'s plate." is enough to remind them and they get the picture fairly quickly.

Is she allowed to snatch toys from other children too? Because if she can explain this then the plate thing is very easy.

MrsCR Wed 30-Jan-13 13:21:27

I have a 3yo and its ridiculous to say she can't do anything to stop it.

Just tell him no ffs


BertieBotts Wed 30-Jan-13 14:01:46

I mean you can start it about one, really, can't you?

Baby reaches for grandma's plate.
<firm disapproving voice> No, grandma's.
<indicate baby's plate> <use enthusiastic, positive voice> Baby's! Look! Mmmmm, yummy. (etc etc)

CrapBag Wed 30-Jan-13 14:17:13

I would not like this at all, a child doing this to me or my child doing it to someone else. His mum needs to be stopping him, what a ridiculous thing for her to say.

I have a friend whose child constantly goes up to anyone who has food and just stands there waiting for something. I hate it, it is fecking scrounging and my friend just laughs and waits for the person to give her some. I never do, funnily enough if the child happens to come up to me, she quickly goes away as she has already learnt that I will not be giving her mine or my DDs food. My friend should teach her DD that she should go scrounging food off others but she never does. It irks me greatly.

nickelbabe Wed 30-Jan-13 17:26:29

Bertie - in my house, it goes something like
"hey! gerrof! that's my fooood! You've got your own foooood!" <wail cry>

<baby looks perplexed and carries on "mmmmmumymumyummmmm"

AllDirections Wed 30-Jan-13 17:34:39


I was at a party and a 4 year old boy kept doing this and was most put out that we wouldn't 'share' our food with him. I pointed out the buffet (he'd already filled a plate with food for himself) and told him that this was food for sharing and that once we'd put food on our own plates then it was our food and not for sharing.

We taught ds not to take food off of people's plates. I then had to teach dh that taking food off of ds plate was also not on hmm and giving him the wrong message. Ds is 3 and dh is 32 grin

lynniep Wed 30-Jan-13 18:01:41

YANBU. I have a 3 year old food vacuum. He will try any ploy to pinch food but he knows full well what is acceptable and is always told no if he attempts anything he shouldn't - like your example - taking food off others plates.

JamieandtheMagicTorch Wed 30-Jan-13 18:11:53

Perceptive post sunshineandshowers.

I'm sure that lack of boundaries is sometimes due to laziness, sometimes due to a lack of skills/good examples, and sometimes something deeper.

It not only sets that child up for hard time at school, it affects everyone who teaches that child, and many children who has to be in class with them.

Nothing works straightaway - of course they'll try it again and again. It's a drip drip approach that requires consistency. Some people have no consistency in their own lives and can't apply it to their children

ChunkyPickle Wed 30-Jan-13 18:13:37

YANBU - it is bad behaviour.

My 2.5 year old would never take food from a strangers plate, although he will look very longingly at food on my/DP's/MIL's plate in the hopes one of us will give in and let him have whichever choice bit his selected. Even he of the big, blue, mournfully begging 'they starve me you know' eyes wouldn't consider taking it for himself though!

ChunkyPickle Wed 30-Jan-13 18:16:59

OMG I am mortified. "he's selected" not "his selected"

Of course when they're a bit older it'll be the other way round as they try to sneak the bits they don't like onto your plate.

ArtemisatBrauron Wed 30-Jan-13 19:43:06

One of my good friends used to let her then 3.5 year old DS eat off everyone's plates when we went out for lunch, also he used to want to swap glasses of water and straws with everyone including adults and when I refused as ididntwant a spitty smudgey glass I was told he would cry if I didn't swap and that he was trying to be friendly....

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