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To ask your opinion? Re Children and seating.

(297 Posts)
MeganScarlett Sat 12-Jan-13 20:29:28

My mum lives by herself in a smallish flat, and for her birthday always has the family over for tea and cake. My mum has four children and each of them has between 2-3 children and now some of them have their own children. So although we're not a large family it can get quite crowded when everyone is there.

The tea and cakes is always served in the dining room which is where all the adults sit and the younger children usually play in the living room. The youngest are between 4-9.

My niece and nephew were sat at the dining room table, they are both aged 17 and 15 and were the first to arrive with my sister. When others started arriving it was made clear by some that they should give up their seats for the adults and be made to sit in the living room with the younger children. I'm in my early 20s and made to feel sometimes that I am not adult enough to be sat with the older adults.

Should they have given up their seats for the older adults?

I'm really of the opinion that they shouldn't have, but others in the family would clearly disagree.

notallytuts Mon 14-Jan-13 19:08:15

Flatbread if the adults wanted an adult-only conversation surely it would have been more polite to have an adult-only gathering. That way the teenagers could perhaps have made alternate plans that suited them, rather than being relegated to sitting in the other room with very young children. To me, that is really quite rude, and certainly not a very inclusive family atmosphere.

PrincessFiorimonde Mon 14-Jan-13 16:13:44

In the particular circumstance outlined in the OP, I think it's a bit unfair to assume the 15yo and 17yo should go sit in another room with the 4-9yos. At that age, I'd much rather have been chatting with/listening to the adults rather than being with the 'little ones' - all issues of playing with mobile phones etc. apart (not that they were around in my medieval teenagerdom).

OP, this question is going to come up a lot more, isn't it, as the younger members of the family grow up? In 5 years' time the 14yos aren't going to want to be corralled with the 9yos, while the 20/22yos are either going to be in complete limbo or they'll just refuse to attend.

So the only solution is for your Mum's party to be held somewhere else where there's one huge room where everyone can sit or mill about. If dining room/living room are separated by just one wall, maybe you could take a sledgehammer to it and create one big open-plan space to please everyone?

Booyhoo Mon 14-Jan-13 15:50:37

hmm, interesting point about asking the teen to go to another room if they are on their phone or some other device. would the same apply if it was one of the adults? the logic would be the same-they aren't actively involved in the conversation and can interact with their phone just as easily in another room.

Flatbread Mon 14-Jan-13 15:38:46

Even within groups of adults there are unspoken messages and part of being a considerate person is listening and responding to the unspoken vibe.

Most 17 year old hanging out with other teens wouldn't like a 45 year old aunt or uncle hanging around just because the aunt/uncle want to feel young.

Similarly, a bunch of 45 year olds might not want a 15 or 17 yr old hanging around, no matter how 'grown-up' the teenager might feel

In a gathering of females, a male might be a bit of an interloper and visa versa

The point is to be sensitive to the dynamics of the group and excuse yourself if necessary, even if you really want to hang-out with that group.

notallytuts Mon 14-Jan-13 15:20:42

If they were joining in the conversation it would be completely unreasonable to banish them to the other room or expect them to move. If they were sat on phones/other devices or not interacting then they could do that just as well in the room with the other children.

As an older teenager I would not have gone to visit family if I was excluded from adult conversations - respect for elders is something that is earnt not given - I had all the respect in the world for the older members of my family that treated me as an equal and included me in conversations, but even now (years later) I have far less respect for the aunt that always tried to segregate the children from the adults!

Flatbread Mon 14-Jan-13 13:49:26

Of course they should give up their seats.

Whether they stay in the room or move to the children's area depends on the dynamics of the group. If the majority of the adults want it to be an 'adult' only room, then they should move to the kitchen or children's area or so where else

These are just social niceties, surely?

seeker Mon 14-Jan-13 12:45:10

I think they should have given up their seats, but not have to go intothe other room with the children. Could they have sat on the floor?

badguider Mon 14-Jan-13 12:42:47

i am 36 and would not expect a 17yr old to get up and give me their seat becuase i am 'their elder'.

this whole post has talked a lot about 'children' but i think the issue is treating a 15 and 17 yr old like a four yr old... these young adults should not be treated the same as the under10s.

lougle Mon 14-Jan-13 07:24:18

It cuts both ways though. Children get priority at A&E, blood tests, queues for toilets,etc. Shall we expect them to just wait in line?

FWIW, I wouldn't expect my own children to vacate a seat for me, or at the very most I'd expect them to sit on my knee. I would expect them to vacate a seat for another adult though.

badguider Sun 13-Jan-13 18:46:31

Jeez and people wonder why many teenagers would prefer to skip family gatherings?

QuacksForDoughnuts Sun 13-Jan-13 17:06:23

Think very carefully about whether you want children following parental example in a case where the parent, instead of giving up their seat for someone who needs it more, orders a smaller or more junior person to get up.

FrankWippery Sun 13-Jan-13 16:33:43

I'm not entirely sure that I have sworn at or insulted anybody. I have merely said that I find it rude and ill mannered if children expect to sit at the table rather than the adults in such a situation as there not being enough seats.

I swore, yes, but not at anyone. It would seem that what I find to be rude and bad manners others take offence because I don't agree with them. Meh.

I do things my way and others their way. My children have good manners and, frankly, I couldn't give a stuff how other children behave as long as I don't have to see it.

DamnBamboo Sun 13-Jan-13 15:07:42

And you are wishing to argue. You have sworn at and insulted others and their children because they have challenged you.

What was it you were saying about basic manners?

And who would take a seat off a 2 year old. Really!

DamnBamboo Sun 13-Jan-13 15:03:29

frank i think you'll find you said 'you know...' With regards to my dcs being spoilt etc. Don't backtrack.

FrankWippery Sun 13-Jan-13 15:01:28

Yes I see what you're saying with regard to respect. But... I feel that one's children would follow their parental lead and that by the age of 2/3 should really understand and accept that politeness and manners are the way forward.

I'm not saying that all kids who don't do that are brats, rather that the children I have met who behave this way are, generally, spoilt and rude the whole time.

I'm not wishing to argue at all, I have my way of bringing up my children and others their own. Mine works gig us.

MissScarletintheLibrary Sun 13-Jan-13 15:01:25

You can't really sit on the floor in a dining room though Soloman

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 13-Jan-13 15:00:36


From the OP the 17 and 15 yr old are not being given the option.

To be honest If I was treated this way by my elders and "betters" I would be refusing to go.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 13-Jan-13 14:57:47


But these children are not just sitting at a table eating lunch, they are in annother room away from "adult" supervision for the entire length of their stay. And the OP's first post states that the children "play in the living room"

SolomanDaisy Sun 13-Jan-13 14:57:04

I think if there' s the option of some people sitting on the floor so everyone can be in the same room, then it tends to be easier for younger people to do that. Most 15 year olds can comfortably sit on the floor, but at 45 more people find it uncomfortable.

Booyhoo Sun 13-Jan-13 14:49:20

"Respect is early, one should respect one's elders, if only within one's family."

(i know you meant earned)

you contradict yourself in this post. if respect is earned then what has age got to do with offering someone a seat?

surely you would offer the seat to someone you respected (if this was actually about respect, which it isn't) regardless of age?

it has nothing to do with respect it is to do with the mindset that some people have that they are more entitled to comfort than children are simply because they are adults. it all boils down to the "i'm big, you're small" mentality.

i agree with everything damnbamboo has said and i think it's interesting that some posters feel the need to insist that her (and anyone who agrees with her) children must be spoiled brats because their mother affords them teh same respect as she would any other human.

FrankWippery Sun 13-Jan-13 14:47:31

I'm not entirely sure that sitting at the table eating lunch will result in either breakages or injuries. But then my children and nieces and nephews are expected to stay at the table until they have finished their meal.

RipplesInTheWater Sun 13-Jan-13 14:27:01

Stop fucking nitpicking and read what I've put

Spoiled and entitled indeed.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 13-Jan-13 14:26:27

"Several people have said that the older children shouldn't have to babysit the younger ones - my point being that no one is babysitting the you her ones, they are merely eating a meal and do not have to have their parents in the same bloody to eat."

Who is going to get in to trouble if something is broken?
Or if someone gets hurt?

It will be the older ones, they are therefore babysitting.

DamnBamboo Sun 13-Jan-13 14:22:48

I actually find it so amusing that the ones going on about badly behaved individuals are the first to hand out unwarranted judgements and insults at the thought that others might not do their bidding.

Spoiled and entitled indeed.


FWIW my mother would be mortified to take a seat frim a 3 year old and would not consider it due course.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 13-Jan-13 14:22:48

I'm not so bothered about giving up the seats but this part "be made to sit in the living room with the younger children" pisses me off.

I would say "what are you going to do when the free babysitting service is no longer available" but I already know that the children 14, 13, 12 etc. will be expected to do it.

I can also forsee questions such as "why arn't your two children here" and I would love to here the parents response.

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