The table... Better, but still a far cry from good.

cephFebruary 19, 2009

One part sigh of defeat / One part brag.

My SS, A__, had just turned 8 when I first had a meal with him, and his table manners were atrocious.

If he happened to pick up his fork during a meal, he held it like a weapon.

He didn't know how to use a knife.

He crammed more food than would fit into his mouth and then let it fall onto his plate until he "only" had a huge mouthful that took a good two minutes to chew.

He'd get up from his chair and run around. (He has ADHD, so this part is more understandable, but still not acceptable)

He talked with his mouth full, and chewed with it open.

He would spit food on the table or his plate because he "felt like it"

It was awful.

So I told then-BF-now-DH that A__ needed some table manners. He agreed, but said "I don't have him that much, so what can I do?"

Well, I have always thought that is a big pile of BS, and we set about providing him with manners.

Now, at nearly 10, A__'s manners are much generally improved!

He still isn't good with a knife, but he uses cutlery when he should.

He sits in his chair.

He chews appropriately sized mouthfuls with his mouth closed and waits until he is done (or nearly done) to speak.

I am very pleased with his progress! Good for A__!

Tonight he even remembered that you should tilt your soup bowl away from you, not towards... ... ... And then he followed it up by... ... ... wiping his hands on his shirt!

Such a victory, promptly followed by bitter defeat.

I just needed to get that off my chest, and knew some of you ladies would understand.

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try seven kids at the dinner table......we are getting better celebrate those small victories!!!!!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2009 at 9:42PM
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"Tonight he even remembered that you should tilt your soup bowl away from you, not towards"

I must have bad table manners, too! LOL. I don't even tilt a soup bowl?

No, seriously, though, I'm glad to hear things are improved! My SS will be 7 next month and mealtimes are always interesting with him. I wonder about the ADD/ADHD thing because this child CANNOT sit at the table! He's on his knees, he's standing up, he's running out to the kitchen, running to the bathroom, and so on. He has been having lots of issues in school with not being able to sit still, not staying in his seat, talking constantly, etc. The teacher says she doesn't think it's ADD or ADHD; she says he is just "young and immature" for his age. She told DH that SS behaves like a young kindergartener--and he is halfway through 1st grade.

What symptoms of ADD did your SS have and how and when was he diagnosed if you don't mind my asking?

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 10:10AM
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"And then he followed it up by... ... ... wiping his hands on his shirt!"

Congratulations on the great progress!
We had good luck by occasionally asking our two boys to take turns listing all of the good table manners they could think of. Just having them do it themselves rather than having us tell them was great -- and we could only think of a very few they missed, which were easy to sneak in.

On the shirt thing, my boys used to constantly forget their napkins and wipe their hands on their jeans. So I simply told them it was unacceptable for them to get their pants dirty like that, so if I caught them wiping their hands on their pants again, they'd have to take them off! We had a lot of fun with that one! ;-)

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 10:45AM
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My SD10 still eats like you describe A_ when he was 8 :-(

She just does not want to hold a fork. Everything is picked up with a knife, to be deposited into her mouth by tilting her head back and dropping it in...

Food will drop on the floor, or shoot across the table, or both! I've stopped saying something but I do keep onto FDH to sort it out. She is not a dog and I would appreciate some manners at the dinner table. Sometimes if it gets too bad I get angry (like really angry) and I'll tell her exactly what I think, but that is not going to help of course.

It's embarrassing and annoying, and SD12 still eats with her mouth open as well! It's really bad and hopefully they'll change once they start dating!!!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 8:54PM
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One thing I have done to help A__ with his manners may not be the best approach, but it has been highly effective.
When he is doing something dreadful at the table, I ask him to tell me which is better. I mimic what he is doing, and then I do it with nice manners. He's quite vain (LOL!) so once he sees what his actions look like, he makes an effort to not look like that anymore.

Another thing that has helped immensely with his table manners has been getting him to pull his chair right up to the table. Then he can't hunch over his plate and shovel food into his mouth, he has to bring a nice forkful of food up to his mouth.

Liesbeth - why not stop putting a knife at SD10's place setting for awhile?

LH - A__ has ADHD, and it has apparently been CLEAR since he was 2. He was diagnosed in preschool and started meds in kindergarten or grade one.
As for what symptoms he has? ALL OF THEM! If you go through the DSM criteria ( he exhibits ALL of them to a problematic level.
I think ADD/ADHD are often overdiagnosed or misdiagnosed in kids who are are "a little flighty" or "quite energetic," but there is not a doubt in my mind about A__'s diagnosis.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2009 at 9:22PM
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Ceph, you make me laugh. My SS too has horrible table manners. I avoid eating out at all costs. He also snorts and slurps his snot and saliva around the clock, it's like having a pug or a pot belly pig around all the time! So, we've been on vacation for a few days now and I've noticed he hasn't slurped once! it's amazing. Thankfully the house we're renting has a breakfast table and a dining table so I don't have to sit next to him, but last night I watched him from across the room take his shirt and wipe his face! you're not alone :)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 8:31AM
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lol....i slurp at times...guess i have bad manners..
I honestly do not care how my stepkids, my child or his father or anyone else eats. As long as they eat, and enjoy what they are eating.
Sorry, but tilting the bowl away as apposed to tilting this for real? do little things that triveal bother you?
i have a friend who is so picky like this....she gets on my nerves so i purposely do things to offend her just to get
ehehheeh...they learn and we all do as we get older. Dont worry.:)

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 1:42PM
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"I honestly do not care how my stepkids, my child or his father or anyone else eats. As long as they eat, and enjoy what they are eating."

There are basic table manners, though, and I think is our job as parents to instill them in our kids. It's a learning process with kids and I don't care about little things, but I do expect both my DD and SS to take reasonable sized bites, not chew with their mouths open, and not talk with food in their mouth. I know my DD's teacher is very strict about mealtime. There are 14 kids in the class, and 1 teacher and 1 assistant teacher, and they all sit together and eat family style. They do get corrected for chewing with their mouths open, getting up out of their chairs, etc. I have NO problem with this.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2009 at 2:28PM
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Maria asked: "Sorry, but tilting the bowl away as apposed to tilting this for real? do little things that triveal bother you?

Well, yes and no.

Yes, the etiquette of tilting your bowl away instead of towards is for real.
I would like for A__ to one day be able to eat at a very formal table and know all the rules. I want him to know which fork to use and when. I want him to know that the finger bowl is not lemon soup. I want him to know to hold both his fork and knife, and where it is appropriate to place them once they have been used. And so on.

But at our own table, no, I don't fuss about how he tilts his bowl. That particular manner just came up one day when he noticed I tilt my bowl away. I explained the etiquette and he happened to remember. I'm pleased that he remember a "finer point" of table manners, but I wouldn't fuss at him for that one.
Shoving food into his mouth in mass quantities and letting it fall back out onto his plate until he has "only" a huge mouthful, on the other hand, gets fussed about.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2009 at 2:04PM
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