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To think a 10 year old should be able to use a knife and fork properly

(66 Posts)
Lilacandlavendar Tue 10-Sep-19 20:13:03

Just that really. Niece over for dinner and she didn't know how to use it and so couldn't cut her dinner up. My sister said it's fine she doesn't want to use it like that 🙄

imaflutteringkite Tue 10-Sep-19 20:16:09

I have a 9 yr old DS who hates to use a knife to cut his food up. He has a go but manages to fling it about all over. He also can't tie his shoe laces so I suspect something else is going on. My older and younger child can do both easily.

Greenvalleymama Tue 10-Sep-19 20:21:36

Some children do know better than their pathetic parents though grin My son is 13 and still makes a total hash of cutting up food, because he didn't bloody listen to me when I showed him as he knew a better way. A bit like handwriting, he knew better than the teachers. It must be wonderful being so young and yet soooo knowledgeable!

BrokenWing Tue 10-Sep-19 23:32:05

Some do, some dont and do it a little later. No big deal.

When ds used to have a few friends around for dinner at that age and older quite a few of them would pick up their food with a fork and bite bits off rather than use a knife so it is not that uncommon and nothing to get eye rolling judgy about

PolPotNoodle Tue 10-Sep-19 23:36:23

I'm 29 and still can't really use cutlery properly. 🤷‍♀️

Monsterdogs Tue 10-Sep-19 23:39:43

Im 33 and use the 'wrong' hands for my cutlery. I still manage to eat more than enough 😂

Flairhead Tue 10-Sep-19 23:39:57

I know people in their 20s who use them the wrong way round ie knife in left hand, fork in right. If they were left handed I could understand but they're not.

Finfintytint Tue 10-Sep-19 23:42:03

I’m old school and think at that age they should be able to use cutlery. I do not care if they can’t though and wouldn’t comment because it’s a minor thing. Laziness with the child probably rather than parenting skills.

Expressedways Tue 10-Sep-19 23:42:39

I wouldn’t expect perfect cutlery usage but a 9YO (with no SEN) should be able to eat a meal independently without needing an adult to cut it up for them.

SudowoodoVoodoo Tue 10-Sep-19 23:52:36

Despite eating 99% of the meals in his life at a table, DS can't cope with using both hands for handling cutlery. It's part of the way dyspraxia affects him. He favours the lighter, chunkier children's cutlery over metal, but it still looks like the aftermath of a toddler's tea party.

I'm a believer in table manners, but you'd never believe it watching him. I do have to regularly prompt him to sit on the chair first (and get back on the chair) and line everything up, and get random body parts like knees out of the way, and to pick up the cutlery, not palming it messily into his face. The finer points of style and technique are best handled sparingly and delicately and saved for more resiliant moments.

The question is have they been taught and practiced with the skills, is it being awkward or is there a genuine difficulty? A lot of the meltdowns we used to get when he was challenged are because it's physically painful for him to manipulate and hold his hands in fixed positions, then mentally draining to co-ordinate the movements, and frustrating when he fails to manipulate his food sucessfully. There are lots of other areas of fine motor control and processing that are a major struggle for him.

A 10 year old should be able to eat in a civilised way, but there can be reasons that make this difficult.

bringmesmiles Wed 11-Sep-19 00:01:27

28 and also have difficulty , didn’t learn til I was 12 - prior to that I had specialist adapted cutlery . Now as an adult I usually just explain I have dyspraxia if someone seems bothered by the fact that I switch hands a lot . Do the same with drinks etc , I’ve no idea which hand is for which and what’s left and right etc . It’s enough of a job to not spill let alone hold with my fingers in a precisely correct manner iyswim .

TrainspottingWelsh Wed 11-Sep-19 00:06:18

Barring any additional explanations, I think by 10 it’s several years past the age where laziness or lapsing is acceptable as a ‘only young’ thing. Being unable to cut up their food or picking at it on a fork is something I would say was laziness or difficulty at 5.

Doing it at home is fine but 10 is way too old not to have been taught how to eat in company.

I wouldn’t judge someone doing it though because in most cases it’s unlikely I’d know if there was any genuine reason. And don’t really give a fuck which hand is used.

PinkBuffalo Wed 11-Sep-19 00:10:29

I'm in my 30s and still struggle but I also have dyspraxia (seems quite common amongst us!)
I will still cut up all my food and eat with a spoon/fork (spoon preferably) because it's so much less hassle for me!
This may be why I love my homemade meals like casserole, shepherds pie, spag Bol etc

justbeingadad Wed 11-Sep-19 00:14:08

According to my other thread, let kids be kids and there's no reason to ever make a child do anything.....

Graphista Wed 11-Sep-19 00:18:18

Not necessarily - my dd couldn't at that age and still struggles.

At 10 she was still undx with her disability which we now know about and know this kind of task is difficult for her, she generally sticks to things she can eat with just a fork or endeavours to cut it all up with a sharp knife rather than a table knife in the kitchen before taking it through to eat.

flep Wed 11-Sep-19 00:22:11

I know people in their 20s who use them the wrong way round ie knife in left hand, fork in right. If they were left handed I could understand but they're not.

It’s called cross dominance. Not everyone is purely right or left handed.

A good chunk of my own family have cross dominance, myself included.

BlankTimes Wed 11-Sep-19 01:06:36

Sometimes it's not a case of being taught properly, sometimes it's a case of the child being physically unable to use ordinary cutlery successfully because they have poor hand praxis or have poor fine motor skills.

Chunky handles can help some kids, but these were transformational in my household. The difference is not so evident in the photographs, but please do try a set of these if your child struggles.

There's some cutlery which has finger-indents that give kids the 'correct' grip, so then they can use each utensil in a controlled way e.g.

There's some for adults too, with the same finger indents e.g.

Age 10 is sometimes too big for the kiddy version. Do google for styles and price, they are also called caring cutlery.

Apple23 Wed 11-Sep-19 02:27:25

For those who are genuinely struggling, try a knork- it's a weighted fork that you can use the edge of to cut most foods. Game-changer as you can eat one handed neatly.

That said, a 10-year-old with no fine motor skill difficulties should be able to eat properly with a knife and fork, using the knife to cut rather than the fork to shred their food. Which hands they prefer to use the cutlery in is pretty irrelevant - if they can eat neatly with nice table manners, people are unlikely to notice.

Purpleartichoke Wed 11-Sep-19 04:34:37

My 10yo can’t. She is highly intelligent, can debate any adult on any subject she desires, and is a great artist, but she has a coordination disorder. Her lack of table skills are not for lack of trying on our part. We will eventually be having an occupational therapist work with her on this task, but there are others that are much more important.

We have family who make little comments about dd’s Lack of ability in certain areas. It’s one of the few things that makes me want to scream or perhaps say something cruel about their children in return. I don’t, because I’m not a jerk.

soulrunner Wed 11-Sep-19 05:34:00

Can you believe my biggest ever argument on here was with someone who insisted that switching your cutlery round was bad table manners? Why??

I think kids learn this later than they used to due to more meals that can be eaten only with a fork vs when I was growing up when you had to cut up meat etc from an earlier age.

Defender90 Wed 11-Sep-19 05:36:58

My husband struggles with this, we are pretty sure he's a born left handed person that's been forced all his childhood to be like the rest and eat 'properly'.

Shows in golf, eating, his writing is awful as well.

Eledamorena Wed 11-Sep-19 05:37:57

I would assume any child of this age should be able to use cutlery properly unless they have some physical difficulty e.g. poor fine motor skills.

But... obviously not all cultures use cutlery in the same way. I'm assuming OP and her family do, but in my case I'm a bit worried my family will think I'm slack on table manners as my children get older (currently 4 and 2) becuase we live in Thailand and it is simply not a thing to cut your food up with a knife! Standard cutlery for the table is a fork and spoon. There are no knives available at school lunch time. We had to go to a western shop to buy a cutlery set that included knives. We have all adopted the Thai way of eating unless in a western restuarant. When we visit the UK I think there may be judgment...!!

Lilacandlavendar Wed 11-Sep-19 05:45:28

She has no difficulties or anything that would impact it, it seems more to be lazy/stubbornness and my sister doesn't care enough to do anything about it. I couldn't care less what hands she used but she can't use them in any hands. Dinner was meat and veg and she said she couldn't eat it as the meat was too tough as she couldn't cut it. She was literally jabbing it with the end of the knife and when I pointed this out, and that the meat was easy to cut if done properly, she said that she doesn't care and likes to do it this way. Lol, not a massive issue I know but frustrating when you've cooked them dinner.

Purpleartichoke Wed 11-Sep-19 06:07:29


You don’t know she has no difficulties. Dd got her diagnosis somewhat late and at an age she had strong opinions about her medical privacy. We have therefore not shared her diagnosis with the family.

AngelsOnHigh Wed 11-Sep-19 06:09:06

Bringmesmiles. My 13 DGS also has dyspraxia and can't use cutlery .
Having said that, he's amazing with chopsticks. He also can't tie shoelaces. Thank god for Velcro .

His 4 siblings ae great with cutlery.

I also notice that a good number of DC can't hold pencils or pens properly. I don't comment because I guess it's just something that is fairly common these days.

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