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to ask my kids not to start eating until everybody has sat down at the table...

(83 Posts)
Grumpyoldme Sat 21-May-16 00:38:46

...when their grandparents are sitting there right next to them happily scoffing away before DH and I have even managed to serve up half the food let alone sit down to enjoy it with them???

They are lovely (the grandparents that is, the children are occasionally lovely too) but sadly not blessed with (m)any table manners... think eating with their faces semi submerged in the food like piglets round a trough, accompanying noises, eating with their mouths full, starting to clear the table and do the dishes before everyone has finished... I am sure recently they were preparing to grab my half eaten steak from underneath my nose had I not been armed with a steak knife and a menacing smile.

So what should I do? Wouldn't dream of telling the grandparents off, but how about my kids? They are 5 and 7 btw, so old enough to wait that extra minute or two until everyone has sat down. I could try and ask them discreetly to wait, but of course they would quite rightly scream point out "BUT LOOK! GRANDMA IS DOING IT TOO! WHY DO WE HAVE TO BEHAVE WHEN GRANDAD IS ALLOWED TO EAT ALREADY??"

Or do I just let it go in order to avoid embarrassment? Problem is, I am not the most relaxed of people to put it mildly, so would probably require a bottle of wine all to myself to obtain the required degree of chilledoutness. Grmph.

I suppose I could try to put the cutlery on the table AFTER all the food is served and everyone is ready... just have this image in my head of returning to the table with the cutlery only to find the four of them stuffing fistfuls of spaghetti down their mouths. Well at least DH and I would have sufficient forks for ourselves. One for each eyeball.

AppleMagic Sat 21-May-16 00:40:37

Let it go.

ollieplimsoles Sat 21-May-16 00:44:30

Drop this, its just another useless and pointless piece of table etiquette..

someonestolemynick Sat 21-May-16 00:44:48

Are you and grandparents living together?

ollieplimsoles Sat 21-May-16 00:45:57

Actually, serve the grandparents last, problem solved

Fluffyears Sat 21-May-16 00:47:45

I hate this rule, why wait and let your food go cold. Get stuck in!

GraysAnalogy Sat 21-May-16 00:52:31

I disagree with other posters, I'd educate them to wait.

My friend once went to a business meeting wherein they ended up having food. She got her food first and tucked in - her employees and people from another country looked at her aghast she said. She had never been taught to wait and felt deeply embarrassed that she hadn't been. To top it off she stopped when she realised, jabbed her fork in the chicken so whilst they're sat there the fork slowwlyyy falls and splats.

Its better when she tells it but seriously, she was embarrassed.

Teapot13 Sat 21-May-16 01:01:25

They need to be taught this. It isn't a pointless rule -- it is a basic part of a family meal and shows respect for the cook. Teach them to wait till you are served. If you review it frequently they will understand raised eyebrows if GPs are there. If they point out that other adults are eating, say that you are talking about their behavior, not GPs. (Maybe GPs will learn something.)

Grumpyoldme Sat 21-May-16 01:10:34

Just me then! No, we are not living together. Spent a prolonged period at grandparents' house once, but that was different of course - their house, their rules.

Serve Grandparents last... Good idea. The reason I hadn't thought of that is that we usually put the food on the table for everyone to help themselves (cultural thing, I'm from Sweden).

I'm not quite prepared to let go of that rule - mealtimes are special, especially when you have made an effort to make a nice home cooked meal. And the food won't go cold in one or two minutes.

Regardless if you agree with the "don't start till everyone is ready" rule, how would you react if the issue was a different one - e.g. kids/GPs talking with their mouths open, eating with their fingers, appearing at the table in their underwear? My kids GPs wouldn't dream of doing that I hasten to add. But everyone has SOME rules that are important to them - how would you react if your kids broke one of your rules whilst their grandparents or other adult visitors did exactly the same?

GraysAnalogy Sat 21-May-16 01:11:43

No its not just you smile a couple of us agreed with you! Its a good rule to instil

fatmomma99 Sat 21-May-16 01:12:27

I don't think teaching good manners is ever a bad thing. People don't HAVE to use what they've been taught, but it's always horrendous and embarrassing if ever you don't know the rules, so you absolutely aren't doing wrong by showing them the 'right' way, even if this isn't always adhered to.

As for DC pointing out DGparents are tucking in, you can choose. Either you can say to them "actually, we wait until everyone is served before we eat" or say to DC "they're older and need to eat" or state something non-committal and explain it later.

Your instincts aren't wrong!

TwirlsInTwirlsOutAgain Sat 21-May-16 01:12:52

Drop this, it's just another useless and pointless piece of table etiquette...
I'll have to disagree, I think it's important that children learn basic manners and table etiquette.
You wait until others have been served too.
What teapot said - maybe GPs will realise

MangoMoon Sat 21-May-16 01:17:55

I e taught my kids to do this, they're 11 & 14 now and do it without thinking.
Not pointless etiquette at all - it's just good manners.

Agree with PP to serve grandparents last, and maybe let it drop whilst GPs are there to spare embarrassment.

Grumpyoldme Sat 21-May-16 01:19:58

Your poor friend Grays! - did make me chuckle though :-) That's exactly the sort of experience I wouldn't want my kids to go through!

Teapot13, I like your advice... would just have to work out how to say it without making it sound a bit passive aggressive. Bit of a social minefield, this telling kids of for something others around them are doing as well. I have only just mustered the courage ask them to stop being too noisy on the bus when all their friends' mums don't seem to notice the other passengers' annoyance.... another bugbear of mine!

Grumpyoldme Sat 21-May-16 01:25:06

another good suggestion fatmomma, thank you. Might adapt it slightly to "they have to eat because they have been so busy / did not have much breakfast" or similar. Getting there smile

GraysAnalogy Sat 21-May-16 01:25:51

It made me laugh too tbh ha. The thing is she came from the same background as me, the 'you'll never amount to nothing' sort and has this high flying job and does bloody well but in that instant she says she felt small.

We laugh about it now, the thought of their faces as the fork slowly makes its descent...

GinIsIn Sat 21-May-16 01:27:26

Am actually shock at people describing basic good manners as useless, pointless etiquette

It may seem useless and pointless at 3 when they are just cramming fish fingers in their faces, but what about when they are old enough to socialise? Or work? Or date?

GinIsIn Sat 21-May-16 01:30:51

Also, I am from a huge family and there would regularly be 12-14 of us round the table, especially at weekends. If you are a fast eater and are first served, you'd be finished and pestering to leave the table by the time the last person was served - how is that right? It's just polite to wait!

bridgetoc Sat 21-May-16 01:34:20

Ignore the posters that told you to let this go! If they don't want their kids to have any manners that's fine, but I agree with you OP, kids should have good table manners, and grandparents also!

CharminglyGawky Sat 21-May-16 01:34:58

I think it is really important that kids learn good table manners. Once learnt they don't need to be used daily for the rest of their lives but you need to know how to behave if you end up in a posh works dinner or the like. It is easy to not use manners you have if they don't suit the situation and much harder to try to follow etiquette you don't know about and feel like the odd one out!

AppleMagic Sat 21-May-16 01:37:08

You can teach them when the grandparents aren't there. How is it good manners to embarrass guests?

VioletBam Sat 21-May-16 01:38:58

At 5 and 7 your DC are old enough to be taught the rule that they should wait BUT they're also old enough for you to explain that their grandparents aren't following that rule because they've never learned it.....and that it would be rude for you to point it out to them....SO your children need to understand that while the Grandparents are eating with you, the rules are relaxed but ordinarily they must wait.

My DC are taught to wait but at their Grandparents, everyone helps themselves and starts when they want to. It's just their way.

Originalfoogirl Sat 21-May-16 01:48:42

You can teach them when the grandparents aren't there. How is it good manners to embarrass guests


To reinforce good manners to your children, around people who are not being well mannered is pretty much using the children to send a message to the grown ups and that is not polite.

Your children won't lose the message if it isn't enforced every single time. I'd choose not to talk to them on from of the grandparents, but to talk to them the next time you are eating and remind them that just because other people don't do these things, doesn't mean they can forget. I'd also make it clear these are the rules that i expect my children to have, and it's not important to me if others don't do it.

OutToGetYou Sat 21-May-16 01:57:17

I'd say "oh grandad, in our house we wait until everyone is served, don't we small child? Because it's not very nice for the cook to sit down last and everyone else is already halfway through".
In fact, I said something similar in someone else's house recently because I though it off that the kids started eating while the parents were still scurrying around getting everything.

RaskolnikovsGarret Sat 21-May-16 05:16:52

I think it's good manners, but dying out. My parents from another culture still wait for others before eating, but I have been for dinner with lots of people who are far 'posher' and 'educated' than me, some of whom I know look down on me because of my class (true, no chip on my shoulder, simply true!). They don't do the waiting for others thing, which I find really odd. Maybe upper middle class onwards it's not the done thing. But DDs, DH and I will always wait for others.

But OP, I don't think you can enforce it on the GPs, so I think you should just let it go and pre explain it to your DCs.

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