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Children's table manners

(61 Posts)
atosilis Mon 08-Aug-11 14:19:51

My old university friend came to visit for a week this month with her 2 daughters (9 & 7). Every meal was a warzone. They couldn't use cutlery, every thing was picked up and eaten with fingers - after it had been sniffed. If they didn't like something they'd pretend to be sick and make gagging noises. Actually sitting didn't happen; kneeling, standing and fidgeting were the main activities. I could go on but I can't have her to stay with me again. AIBU?

YANBU, I hate bad table manners!! My cousin eats with her mouth open and chomps her food. It turns my stomach!!!!

squeakytoy Mon 08-Aug-11 14:21:53

eughhh YANBU at all. what on earth did your friend do while her children were behaving like a pair of chimps at a tea party?

RoseC Mon 08-Aug-11 14:24:29


CogitoErgoSometimes Mon 08-Aug-11 14:24:33

YANBU... Chimps' tea party is about right. Was your friend embarrassed?

youarekidding Mon 08-Aug-11 14:31:58

YANBU. I know someone who's DC's don't sit still, who get up and down and will eat 3 spoonfuls and ask whats for pudding. I have taken to doing a buffet help yourself meal when they come round so getting up and down is acceptable and they can eat what amount they want. Fruit is put on the table for pudding.

I can now ignore the constant whinging at my friend they do for choc/cake/sweets when they get home because they are hungry as I know it's their fault for not eating enough nothing to do with my portion control being to high/low.

I would have them for a meal and before it starts say what is acceptable in 'your' house at the dinner table. After a few times they should know for staying a week next time.

DoMeDon Mon 08-Aug-11 14:33:42

Oh it's just kids being kids - free spirits that they are - let them eat with their hands, scream through dinner, generally get on everyone's tits..... angry

YANBU - drives me nuts. Lazy parenting.

Callisto Mon 08-Aug-11 14:34:11

I would have told the girls straight that their behaviour was unacceptable in my house. Did your friend not try and control them?

atosilis Mon 08-Aug-11 14:54:35

No she didn't really, half hearted attempts. The eldest one was a pain to feed for years and I think Mum is just glad that she's eating anything. She's nervous to make a fuss in case the daughter kicks off and won't eat. I looked after them while Mum went to have a haircut and came out with some beauties. "What is your neck for?" HOLDING YOUR HEAD UP. What is your bottom for?" SITTING ON. "What is your cutlery for?" USING. They were fine with me, we were only allowed to use 'indoor' voices and only when they were sure their mouths were empty. <<inner victorian schoolmarm>>

valiumredhead Mon 08-Aug-11 14:55:48

Ds has lots of friends round for tea/play and I am constantly horrified at their (lack of) manners! There are only a few who even have a basic concept of table manners. I am not particularly fussy either but I draw the line at burping/ food being thrown and constant getting up and down from the table.

DoMeDon Mon 08-Aug-11 15:00:15

Reminds me of this weekend and my friend's ill-mannered DC- asked for food then refused to eat it, didn't have to stay at table while others ate, screeched sang through most of dinner, didn't clear away when done. Even my toddler can manage a better job!

alison222 Mon 08-Aug-11 15:02:12

I nag my children constantly about their manners so when we have friends over they do it for me - I don't need to bother. I regularly hear things like " don't talk with your mouth full it looks disgusting and is making me feel sick" grinblush

atosilis Mon 08-Aug-11 15:02:39

Eldest was still being fed at 6. Lots of bribery, planes, games, tears, persuasion etc etc. Meals went on for hours. Haven't seen them for years, they live abroad and hoped they had grown out of it. The little one just copies. I nearly brained the eldest on the final night. I had made bolognese (which she said she liked) but at the table she started crying and saying it was horrible. Major problems because I'd grated some cheddar and not provided parmesan. I explained that it was parmecheddar. The little one ploughed through 3 mouthfulls, saw the eldest's behaviour and joined in.

WhoseGotMyEyebrows Mon 08-Aug-11 15:03:47

They do sound particularly bad!

valiumredhead Mon 08-Aug-11 15:04:37

LOL @ parmecheddar grin

girlywhirly Mon 08-Aug-11 15:05:41

I'd have been as appalled as you. Also, after the first meal, I'd have been having a few words with their mother as to why they had no manners, stating how your family behave at the table and any other visiting DC are expected to do the same. I don't know how you managed not to speak out at the first hint of bad manners. This friend is doing her kids a real social disservice, because somewhere down the line, they will be picked on for 'eating like pigs', parents of their friends won't invite them to tea or to parties because of their behaviour, and may well affect future dinner dates, where they don't get asked out again.

I agree it's lazy parenting, I have seen a 9yo unable to use cutlery because most of the food they have is fast food or picnic style which is eaten with the fingers, generally in front of TV and with no supervision. So hardly surprising that with no tuition and practice they haven't a clue how to manage cutlery appropriately.

Interested to know what sort of example was the friend setting, how were her manners?

wimpofawoman Mon 08-Aug-11 15:12:29


But, I am finding that it takes years to train them to always use good table manners. My 10 year old still talks with her mouth full sometimes. I think it's because she is one of 3 siblings and worried that if she doesn't get her comment in right now she will miss her opportunity. I always remind her though. My 5 and 8 years olds might stick their hands in their food, which they are not allowed to do, but still do sometimes. They don't get down from the table during the meal though, and and are not not allowed to say anything bad about my cooking!

Sometimes I feel like I'm nagging them the whole time they are eating, which must be annoying when you just want to enjoy your meal.

DoMeDon Mon 08-Aug-11 15:13:22

DSD was very similar - in the end I convinced DH not to give in to all the daftness. She has exceptional table manners now and is a joy to eat with (still a slow eater and not a massive foodie but she is a pleasure to eat with unlike the torture that went on before). I just can't beleive some people listen to it - I couldn't pay any mind to 'it looks different to your cheese mummeeeeeeeeeeeeeee'

worraliberty Mon 08-Aug-11 15:16:57

YANBU I feel sick just reading this

SeenButNotHeard Mon 08-Aug-11 15:21:38

dd (6) constantly tells Me off for having my elbows on the table blush

Basic table manners need to be taught - I'm not talking about children behaving like angels, I actually can forgive eating with fingers if the food allows, but being polite, eating with your mouth closed etc is not too much to ask.

atosilis Mon 08-Aug-11 15:23:54

Mum's manners were/are fine, very 'posh' family (not that that means anything per se). Think she's slightly depressed and hasn't got the energy for battles. School lunches are sandwiches so they don't need cutlery for that. When they started picking up the roast potatoes and dipping them in the gravy, then sucking the gravy off before biting the end off, I had to speak. Her answer was "They can dip chips into sauce, why not potatoes into gravy?" Nutcase. Highly intelligent woman but losing the plot. I agree with you girlywirly, invites out are quickly going to come to a screaming halt.

worldgonecrazy Mon 08-Aug-11 15:27:21

YANBU. I recall being out in a restaurant. Two stunning girls walked in, around early 20s, beautifully groomed, impecabbly dressed, gorgeous handbags. They turned everybody's heads. Then they started eating. Mouths open whilst chewing, no manners, such a complete turn off. I know men like to see women enjoying their food, but I suspect they didn't mean acting like pigs in a trough.

iamamug Mon 08-Aug-11 15:27:21

YANBU - I am constantly drumming good manners into my boys. Unfortunately my DH has awful manners and thinks it's funny to distract me and then lick his knife/plate whatever - making the DCs laugh!
Drives me insane... also he comes from a much more 'upper' class home than mine. Interesting?? My manners were drilled into me by my very working class grandmother and mother.
I am a stickler for holding knife and fork properly, no speaking with full mouth, not rushing etc etc.

My youngest DS had dreadful problems as a small child with extreme allergies and vomiting so meal times were a bit of a drama to say the least.
However I still tried to keep the manners to standard.
I think my DH is past help sadly but I do keep nagging him!
I do correct other children at my table as well.

girlywhirly Mon 08-Aug-11 15:27:54

Ah, understand now. Being difficult about eating doesn't excuse the rest of the behaviour though. Have always found that the more of a big deal you make of eating the more resistant DC are, to the point of controlling.

BlingLoving Mon 08-Aug-11 15:29:33

YANBU. I don't understand this and feel strongly that parents who dont teach their children basic table and other manners, are doing them a massive disservice.

I had to attend a job interview over lunch once. I do t think that was a coincidence - it was an entry level pr job and they wanted to be sure I knew how to behave appropriately. I got the job grin thanks mum and dad!

I had a 13 son of a family friend who did not k ow how to use cutlery. I was horrified!

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