Advanced search

What's for lunch today? Take inspiration from Mumsnetters' tried-and-tested recipes in our Top Bananas! cookbook - now under £10

Find out more

Profound shame - my DCs have godawful table manners

(39 Posts)
BalloonSlayer Wed 23-Jul-08 20:50:55

blush blush blush blush blush

Yep and it's my fault for giving them their tea and not supervising them properly, skiving off on to mumsnet and leaving them to get on with it.

I have even found myself telling them off in McDonalds, and when your table manners are not good enough for McDonalds, then you ARE in trouble.

What do they do wrong? Well EVERYTHING.
But if I am telling them off about everything it just comes across as one long harangue.

I need help in whittling it down to say, three most important things, to work on at the moment. When these are ok I can move on to more minor details. I can leave the "keep your elbows off the table" till last.

My 3 items I am planning to emphasise (hopefully ignoring the rest just for now):

1. Sit on your bottom, straight on the chair (sub instructions to DD, do NOT keep showing your knickers no one wants to see them)

2. Hold your knife and fork in the correct hands and by the handles.

3. Cut the food up into bite size pieces and convey each piece to your mouth one by one. (ie do not spear a whole sausage with your fork and sit there and chew it for 10 mins).

Any ideas for other important things would be gratefully received.

What examples of bad table manners do all you mumsnetters really hate when you see them? Because I suspect my DCs do 'em all.

And now I come to think of it they are pretty good with the pleases and thank yous so it's not all bad.

Niecie Wed 23-Jul-08 20:55:39

How old are your children BS?

I hate them not holding cutlery by the handles - DS1 (8yrs) holds the metal bit (plastic handle)

DS2 (4.10yrs) refuses to use a knife and fork at the same time - it is either one or the other.

Elbows on the table.

Use of fingers

Spilling bits everywhere.

I wouldn't mind but mine have had a sit-down tea with at least one parent present and eating with them their entire lives. The number of times they have eaten a cooked meal off their knees can be counted on the fingers of one hand. DH and I know the table manners 'rules' and still they eat like they were brought up in a cave.

Doodle2U Wed 23-Jul-08 20:59:30

Getting up and down from the table.

Arse on seat - stays on seat until EVERYONE is finished and then they ask if they may leave the table.

BalloonSlayer Wed 23-Jul-08 21:03:28

Sorry they are 8 and 6.5

Your post has made me feel a bit better.

I think their manners were ok when they were 5 and 3 but haven't got any better with age so are now not good enough.

A friend of DD's came over for tea and ate like a little adult. I was SO impressed, and ashamed of my DCs. But it's my fault, not theirs.

At McD's today, DS ate a chip with about 15 tiny super-speed bites, like putting a log through a juddery sawmill. I started telling him off about that... then realised I just can't complain about everything, they'll feel persecuted. I need to go back to basics. But I can't remember what they are.

Niecie Wed 23-Jul-08 23:30:25

I doubt it is entirely your fault BS. As I say, mine have been set a good example (I thinkhmm) and still they don't do very well.

Absolute basics for me would be

1. No fingers
2. Elbows off the table
3. Eat with mouth shut (I forgot that one)
4. Don't leave the table without asking.

Then there is the more advanced stuff like
1. Cutting up food properly before putting it in their mouths
2. Hold cutlery properly
3. Sit up straight

We could spend the whole meal time having a go at ours. It makes no difference - in one ear and out the other. They are better than they were but it is a very very slow process.

madamez Wed 23-Jul-08 23:34:16

If I could get DS (3.10) to eat a whole meal with cutlery I would be pleased. I would also like to get rid of...
Kicking table leg
Throwing food (OK that doesn't happen very often)
Shouting about poo and smelly bums...

Mind you, I don't know why you mind about table manners in McDonalds. Most of the other diners are either having fights, spitting their chips at each other or wanking.

Hecate Wed 23-Jul-08 23:41:27

Eat with them. Lead by example. Gentle corrections ie "remember that we hold our cutlery like this" (demonstrate). Praise them - A LOT - when they do it properly. Be gushing! grin

Basics for me are -
please and thank you (eg please pass the....)
sit properly
Use fork not fingers
Stay at the table, no wandering around
Chew with mouth closed
Don't pick at teeth
NO BURPING, farting or 'amusing' armpit farts!
No slurping
no talking with mouth full
No HUGE forkfuls shoved into your gob!
Knife and fork together to signal you've finished
Excuse yourself from the table

And I'm going to leave it there because that list is getting very long and I am starting to look rather anal! blush

PortAndLemon Wed 23-Jul-08 23:42:10

DS is 3.6 and I am still working on bottom in chair, legs in front. I'm hoping it will sink in eventually...

TheDuchessOfNorksBride Wed 23-Jul-08 23:43:27

DD1 is 6 and is steadily becoming more gross at the table. She bolts her food, which means she can't breathe properly and thus has her mouth open a lot. And she talks incessantly, mostly drivel, which also means having her mouth open whilst eating. Very recently she has started putting her elbows on the table, wiping her hands on her clothes, playing with her food and has lost please/thank you from her vocabulary.

I blame her school friends. wink

Oh and yesterday she inspected her filthy bare feet during dinner. I told her that if her manners didn't improve then she'd have to go and eat with the dog. That may be unfair on the dog though... grin

pointydog Wed 23-Jul-08 23:43:51

If they're at home I've never really paid much attention to how they eat. They still quite like to use fingers for certain foods (11 and 9) and I don't see why not. They spear and chew too.

For eating out -
1. Use knife and fork
2. Don't complain about the food, leave what you don't like/want.
3. Don't muck about and be annoying.

An awful lot of fussing goes on about table manners.

pointydog Wed 23-Jul-08 23:45:31

I've n ever understood teh elbows thing. That must be a meaningless etiquette relic.

Hecate Wed 23-Jul-08 23:50:25

It's just ruuuuuuude, pd.
I don't know why blush it just makes me feel cross! grin
Oh yes, Duchess, I forgot to list shoveling the food in like you're scared someone's going to take your plate away hmm I hate that!

Quattrocento Wed 23-Jul-08 23:51:06

1. Spilling things - it has taken DS 8 years to get to the point of spilling food/drinks every other meal. It used to be every meal.

2. Starting eating before everyone has been served. I really had to do some serious telling off for this.

3. Leaving the table randomly for sensible seeming but ultimately ridiculous pretexts. "I want to go to the loo." "Tough. You know the rules. You go before you get to the table."

4. Forgetting to offer food. I hate that more than anything. They know very well that they are supposed to offer drinks/condiments/bread around the table. They only ever remember one meal in three.

pointydog Wed 23-Jul-08 23:51:58

exactly. No rationale behind it at all.

pointydog Wed 23-Jul-08 23:54:12

Why shouldn't you start when you have your food in front of you? Why would it bother me that other people have started a couple of minutes before me?

Forgetting to offer food. Ugh, my head hurts

smartiejake Wed 23-Jul-08 23:54:46

The elbows thing harks from Tudor times. We visited some Tudor manor house once and the guide told us they used to have these sort of trestle table things where the table top just rested on, but was not attached to, the legs.

If you put your elbows on the table at the wrong time it might flip up and everyone would lose their dinner!

Unless your table top is not firmly attached to the legs I really don't see it as a problem! grin

Rules I insist on-
-don't use the fork on its own American style unless eating pasta and then use a spoon instead of a fork.
-No slopping noises, mouths firmly closed.
- Don't leave the table while someone is still eating.
-No chomping off the fork- use the bloody knife!
-Use a fork when eating cake with lots of sloppy icing.

BUT I am not as anal as my DH who insists on everyone eating their pizza with a knife and fork!

lizinthesticks Wed 23-Jul-08 23:54:53

Elbows - yeah, it's a funny one. A bit victorian, maybe. And yet...I DON'T LIKE IT!! Hey - how about this one then: Holding you knife like a pen!!! SHOOT THEM!!! Really though. I can be a right table manners fascist about some stuff. It's mad. And check this out - I don't even know what cutlery to start with in a full proper posh silver service job. Guessing I reckon it's work from the outside inwards. God knows.

I reckon these days we've all got our pet peeves and then turn a blind eye to things others would go mental over.

madamez Wed 23-Jul-08 23:55:51

Yes, I am not going to fanny around about how to hold the knife, I am concentrating on 'don't be annoying/gross at mealtimes'. Surely that's all that matters.

kid Wed 23-Jul-08 23:55:57

My main thing to get DS (6) to do is use his knife and fork, or even just his fork would be progress.

Also, I expect my DC to sit straight on their chair with their plate in front of them, not to the side so they have to lean to get their food.

If they get food on their hands, DO NOT wipe it down their clothes, so annoying for a 9 year old. You would think DD knows where her mouth is now, but she wouldn't be getting food on her hands if she used her fork.

pointydog Wed 23-Jul-08 23:56:01

PLus I'm pretty sure your child only wants to go to the loo because he knows he can't grin I've never come across children looking for a pretext to leave th etable mid-meal

meatballs Wed 23-Jul-08 23:56:23

1. eat with mouth closed ( my pet hate)
2. eat with knife and fork
3. dont eat like you have never been fed before
4 enjoy your food and the family time

lizinthesticks Wed 23-Jul-08 23:57:54

I don't care about being gross - but god help the child who eats at my table and holds their knife like a pen so help me god.

pointydog Wed 23-Jul-08 23:58:32

I'm getting a knot of stress in my stomach just thinking about some of your meal times.

Although, kid, I'm withyou on that one. Dd2 still wipes her hands on her lap without realising it. Sigh

Hecate Wed 23-Jul-08 23:59:01

I've just remembered another one. blush ds1 used to lean forward, bringing his face right down to the plate. hmm

I hated that too, and nagged corrected him. Now he's bolt upright. grin

pointydog Wed 23-Jul-08 23:59:15


What happens if they don't?

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: