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Dinner table issues(51 Posts)
Just posting for perspective as would like to hear other people’s opinions on this.
I have a 10 and and 7 year old.
There father is very hot on table manners - which are important to me also. Every dinner time he will correct all table manners - this is the list:
1. Sit nicely
2. Use knife and fork
3. Eat over plate - no crumbs can be made - this can wind up dad.
4. Use napkin
5. No getting up from the table.
6. If too slow, focus drawn back to food repetitively.
All these rules are valuable I know but sometimes I feel like the children literally cannot brief with the stiffness of mealtimes. Is it wrong of me to find the constant point out of errors oppressive? I really hate mealtimes as a family and feel the children have to behave a certain way to stop my husband getting wound up.
My husband is incrediably intelligent, a good and kind man and a lovely, giving father but likes everything done a certain way.
I understand where your husband is coming from (I'm something of a stickler for table manners too), however, I think it's far more important to enjoy the coming together as a family, sharing your day, and enjoying good food.
No crumbs, use a napkin (except for more formal occasions) and no getting up from the table, seems to me to inhibit this. And who decides what is the correct pace for somebody else to eat their meal?
Table manners are important but so is comfort around eating
He is at risk of causing issues around meal times and food
Other than the no crumbs I don't see much of an issue.
I suppose it depends how he bestows his requests.
On the face of it your DH’s list seems ok but if he is super strict about it and everyone is miserable whilst eating then they will soon never want to be sat there.
We have 3 DC, 8,6,4 years. They do have to sit forward but they still make bloody crumbs 🤷♀️ They’re chatting and having fun so it’s bound to happen, they do use a knife and fork and put their plates etc in the dishwasher when they have finished but I wouldn’t expect them to sit there and wait for others - 6 year old is slow to eat which is fine, the adults sit with him and chat until he is finished.
No napkins though, just a teatime thrown at them for the daily spill 🤷♀️
Thank you all - it’s a difficult one isn’t it? Table manners are so important but I just find meal times hard.
No crumbs is a bit extreme! Poor kids are probably petrified to move at the table or even take a bit in fear they're going to make crumbs ffs.
The one rule I have, is to close mouth when eating! That's it
6. is insane. Unless your DC are taking an hour of chewing to finish eating then just let them eat at their own pace.
Rules are well and fine but making a big deal of enforcing them just leads to stressful mealtimes. Is that worth it for no crumbs?
Table manners are very important, I agree, but the crumb issues is ridiculous to the point of bullying. We all make crumbs sometimes, for fuck's sake. So long as the children aren't being deliberately messy, I fail to see why he's so ott about this. I would be having some very firm words with him because he is going to ruin his relationship with his kids, and having to walk in egg shells during every meal is unacceptable.
It is way over the top. I agree it's bullying. He needs to stop it.
I’ll bring my two round for dinner once lockdown eases. He’ll be so horrified he’ll realise your two are angels 🤣
In seriousness though, I’m with the pp who said he’s risking issues with food.
How do your dc take it? Are they starting to get nervous about eating or reluctant to come to the table?
6 is really bothering me. Half the fun is getting distracted by fun or interesting conversation at the dinner table. But repeatedly making you focus on dinner will make for a boring time.
As long as he’s not a jerk about it I don’t see the problem. These things will be noticed by some and they will be judged if they don’t measure up. He’s trying to help them.
Also, somehow, the table manners I'd instilled in them by 6, are dropping out their heads/being passively aggressively rejected, by them at 16. If you let them know just how much something matters to you/winds you up, you're giving 'em a stick to beat you with. . .
Depends how he addresses it, if he is only concentrating on this instead of enjoying a family meal together then yes that’s a problem. I agree with table manners but not to make dinner time uncomfortable for everyone.
Also I am a adult and make crumbs
The 'no crumbs' rule is ridiculous.
Are mealtimes ever fun in your house, OP? Do you all chat and have a catch up?
My H was like that, he constantly told the kids how to behave while eating because his father did it to him.i must admit, now they are adults, they have impeccable table manners, although at the time I used to tell him to shut up and just let them eat.
Rules 3 and 6 are OTT. And from what you say, it’s making mealtimes stressful. A quick “don’t play with your food” is one thing - but if he’s banging on constantly it would piss me off. And I’m sure even I get crumbs on the table sometimes and I’m pushing 40!
This sounds like hell. Is he really controlling about other things too?
Having a meal together as a family is supposed to be a pleasure, a time when you can relax and talk together. This sounds like a recipe for making them very nervous and uptight around social eating.
So long as they know what good table manners are, and can put them into practice if required, they don't need to practice them every day. You do realise that truly posh people aren't that bothered about table manners? I was at university with Etonians and Harrovians who ate like pigs.
Are meals lighthearted at all? Rules don’t matter if it’s done in an easy way. But if it’s all serious then you’ll end up with stressful mealtimes and the kids will associate meals/food with stress. In an unconscious way. What are meals like when he’s not there?
Oh Jesus are they in the army? What are they training for? Do they eat like monkeys every day?
Just because he’s incredibly intelligent doesn’t mean that he can be a controlling twat to his kids. Are you implying that less intelligent people let their kids eat like pigs?
It sounds like hell and yes I’m going to say it - I feel sorry for your kids! Better start saving for therapy sessions for when they finally escape!
My father was incredibly strict about table manners to the point where we dreaded meals and ate in miserable silence. I hated that. But I also hate now that despite us all sitting round the table with my dcs when they were younger we have now gone to the other extreme. Cant remember when we last sat down together. Dh doesnt even move his laptop off the table!
I can at least be grateful to my father for one thing: I now sometimes attend high end events for work. Formal dinners in castles etc. I thank god I know which cutlery and glasses to use, not to drink the finger bowl and how to pass the port. Not bad for growing up on a council estate!
Apart from the crumb issue I think the expectations are similar to ours and our meals are not stiff or formal.
Getting up depends for me, getting another drink or another item I don't mind but I do mind pointless up and downs.
Having rules and having fun conversations don't exclude each other.
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