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To expect DSS to use cutlery?

(79 Posts)
FullmoonHalfmoonTotaleclipse Fri 04-Dec-15 23:17:23

DSS is in year 8. He still uses his fingers whenever he can for eating non finger foods such as pasta in sauce or Yorkshire puddings covered in gravy (he has no additional needs precluding the use of a knife & fork).

I find this not only unpleasant to watch (as do his siblings who pick him up on it regularly) but afterwards he either wipes his fingers on his clothes, the seat cushion etc or we get stickiness/mess on the walls and door handles.

I feel embarrassed going out and about with a 12yo who constantly has food smears all over his clothing. DH doesn't seem that bothered by it but at DSS's age is it unreasonable to expect him to use cutlery and not be wiping his dirty fingers everywhere? I don't have DC of my own so am prepared to be told my expectations are too high.

Nanny0gg Fri 04-Dec-15 23:19:30

Yes he should!

Do you eat with him? It might take lots of nagging instruction, but not being made to eat properly is doing him no favours at all.

And why doesn't he if his siblings do?

dementedpixie Fri 04-Dec-15 23:20:25

Do you remind him to use his cutlery at the time? I have to do that with ds from time to time.

StackladysMorphicResonator Fri 04-Dec-15 23:23:46

Yikes, if he has no additional needs YANBU! However, this is something your DH needs to bring up with him (I do not use the word 'needs' lightly here). He will suffer the older he gets if his peers observe his disgusting eating habits, and it's completely crap parenting on your DH's behalf to allow him to continue to eat like this. He needs to step up and be a proper parent.

ghostyslovesheep Fri 04-Dec-15 23:26:21

if he has no problems then yanbu but maybe also get baby wipes and put them near his place - stops him wiping hands elsewhere

My middle child is 11 and still uses her hands but she has minor brain damage from her birth and can't use both hands simultaneously - she finds cutlery a nightmare and I'd hate her step mother to judge her for it

spritefairy Fri 04-Dec-15 23:33:37

Well if my 2year old can do it, an 8 year old can

spritefairy Fri 04-Dec-15 23:34:17

Sorry year 8

coffeeisnectar Fri 04-Dec-15 23:36:59

That's pretty rank behaviour and you and dh both need to insist on cutlery being used.

I'd be tempted to make him clean up mess made on walls etc if he persists.

FullmoonHalfmoonTotaleclipse Fri 04-Dec-15 23:37:05

ghosty why would your DD's step mum judge her for something that's not her fault?

Problem is DSS will use his fork or whatever for most of the meal but will revert to fingers a few times which is enough to end up with stained clothes etc. I don't understand how DH seems so oblivious to it so I guess my AIBU was to find out whether I'd be unreasonable to push DH on it. I don't really want to go down the route of babywipes next to DSS as it would send him the signal that it's ok to use fingers as long as he cleans up afterwards. Well I'm sorry but I really don't want to watch cauliflower cheese being picked up by hand.

abbieanders Fri 04-Dec-15 23:40:02

I think it's neglect to fail to teach a child how to behave in society as far as they are able. If he can use cutlery, it should be an absolute expectation. Failing to do so is depriving him of a normal life skill, potentially exposing him to ridicule and embarrassment.

thornrose Fri 04-Dec-15 23:41:23

This is really unusual behaviour for a Year 8 child. There must be an underlying issue behind it, it's beyond just bad table manners.

Cloppysow Fri 04-Dec-15 23:45:01

My nearly 13 year old does this. It drives me mad. And believe me, it's not for the want of trying. I pull him up about it at every. Single. Bloody. Meal.

I'm at a bit of a loss to be honest.

Holstein Fri 04-Dec-15 23:50:09

I have a child that refuses to use cutlery too. He's in primary school though.
We nag every meal, but he just won't stop.
What exactly do you suggest to rectify it?

FullmoonHalfmoonTotaleclipse Fri 04-Dec-15 23:50:17

Why must there be an underlying issue other than DSS being able to get away with it for so long because DH has a total blind spot to it?

DSS is the youngest and is babied in a few other ways, this is just another symptom of it but I didn't know what I should be expecting from an average child of his age.

Cloppysow Fri 04-Dec-15 23:52:45

I wonder if there's something underlying with my son tbh. It's like he does it compulsively. He's not being lazy or refusing or defiant. His hands just end up in his food. He's had various quite compulsive behaviours over the years.

FullmoonHalfmoonTotaleclipse Fri 04-Dec-15 23:52:58

X post Holstein, I wasn't implying you were babying your DC.

I was actually quite sympathetic to DSS as I ate using fingers myself until 8/9yo but now he's at high school I think he should have grown out of it by now.

Holstein Fri 04-Dec-15 23:56:17

He's not babied, really! smile

He just cannot stop.
You can sit there all through the meal telling him at every mouthful. Short of sitting behind him and physically restraining his hands, I'm out of ideas.
It makes meals awful and stressful. Even school have commented, because he does it there too.

thornrose Fri 04-Dec-15 23:57:20

I suppose I just can't get my head round why a child that age wouldn't want to conform to social norms. Why would he want to get away with it?

If he eats like that at school or when he's at his friends houses he must see his peers don't do it.

FullmoonHalfmoonTotaleclipse Sat 05-Dec-15 00:01:27

He wants to get away with it because he prefers it in the same way that he'd eat dinner on the sofa whilst on the iPad if he could.

Maybe I could just feed him on a diet of ready salted crisps grin

TaliZorahVasNormandy Sat 05-Dec-15 00:16:44

Get some of that antibac gel to put on his hands before meals. A few tastes of that will encourage him to use cutlery.

TrinityForce Sat 05-Dec-15 00:18:45

I don't see the issue.

just leave the lad be, does it matter?

Let him eat however he wants. He's not lunching with the queen.

VestalVirgin Sat 05-Dec-15 00:20:10

I cannot even remember a time when I ate pasta with sauce with my fingers, and I am someone who doesn't conform to social norms just because they exist. I don't care about social norms, I just care about clean fingers.

I also think there must be some underlying issue.

VestalVirgin Sat 05-Dec-15 00:23:31

@Trinity: Have you read the thread? He leaves his mess on the walls.

I would maybe say to tolerate it if he just preferred to eat with his fingers and then washed his hands afterwards. As was the done thing before cutlery was invented, and still is in places where cutlery is not used.

Even in the Middle Ages, there was etiquette on where you could wipe your fingers and where you couldn't. Simply because dirtying other people's stuff is just rude.

FullmoonHalfmoonTotaleclipse Sat 05-Dec-15 00:27:31

Trinity why should we let him eat how he wants when it involves either me or DH cleaning up after him and doing extra laundry?

Ok, so even if he did have an underlying issue does that mean he shouldn't be corrected sympathetically? I'm just fed up of being evil stepmum because DH zones it out.

TaliZorah that's a good idea, thanks.

spanisharmada Sat 05-Dec-15 00:32:09

blush i'll often eat part of a meal with my fingers, any part I can get away with really.
Especially in the comfort of my own home.
I don't smear my fingers anywhere though, get the lad some wet wipes!

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