Sunday, February 6, 2011

Miss Manners

It has come to my attention that we are ... shall we say ... somewhat rustic when it comes to manners in this household. Basically my children behave like ravenous wolves when presented with a plate of food and seem to have forgotten that it is very rude to shut the door in someones face when they can't play. (Kids are lucky they haven't lost a few digits when Alex answers the door.)

I know that this reflects on me as their parent. I seriously don't know how to get them to sit and eat without beating them within an inch of their lives! (I don't really beat them but I am tempted.) Manners are an important part of the society in which we live. Not king mind you but important none the less.

So how does one teach some manners without nagging so much that they hate them and want to run screaming from the room? Is it really nagging if you happen to mention, ever so politely, that they shouldn't stab their brother with their fork as that would be bad manners?

I was  reading a list of 10 common dinning mistakes, the first three being about cutlery, napkin use, and chewing, in that order. Apparently holding your knife and spoon like your about to do Braveheart style battle with you broccoli is inappropriate, I should be delicately dabbing the encrusted ketchup off Sam's face instead of scrubbing it off like I would mildew on grout, and sucking up spilled jello directly off the table is just not done!

I am hopeful that one day they will decide that manners are somewhat important. It will probably come when one of the boys wants to impress a girl but only if she is really lucky.


housewife said...

bawhahahahahahahaha!!!!!! :D

Jenn said...

Hehehehe! I remember Dad being stickler about use chewing with our mouths open at the used to drive him nuts! And he always asked us if we were trying to be cows :) Good luck at trying to teach them...I'm still trying to get my two-year old to actually eat at the TABLE instead of running around with food in her mouth!

Wendy said...

I agree, it's hard!!!
I think it is like most things, be a good example first and then being consistent in what you want to teach them. Since you have boys, they'll go on missions some day, manners would be good then. ;)

Nana S. said...

:-).....they will surprise you some day when you discover they learned good manners from somewhere, but they will never admit they learned it at home ;-)...keep up the good work ;-)

Krista said...

A few thoughts, in my very limited experience:

1. Slurping Jell-o off the table is fine, especially in your house. :) They're kids. (And you're adults, and it's your house, and you can slurp if you want to. ;) ) In our case, Kiddo is too afraid of germs to slurp elsewhere, LOL...

2. We had a "whammy" system in our house when I was growing up. Not for stuff like how you're holding your fork, or slurping your soup (or not), but basic "no hitting/ speak kindly" stuff, with a couple things like elbows off the table and mouths closed while chewing. Three whammies got you excused, and four lost you dessert. We rarely hit any of those numbers, and the system (based off the game show with whammies) made it kind of fun. If there's a game show they like, maybe that would make it go over less hard-core, you know?

3. I agree with Nana - just keep teaching them, and you'll either catch them doing it, or doing it *and* telling someone else what to do. ;)

Good luck!!! And no worries - the best advice we have about judging others has something to do with a mote and a beam... it's hard when you're feeling judged, but it helps me to remember, too, that we're not trying to offend anyone, and if they're offended, that's their choice. ;)

I know, I'm obnoxious that way. ;)

AJ said...

Hey and here's a good thing. Young men's and Young Women's will help. Every year they do an etiquette dinner where they have to practice good manners. Somehow having someone outside the home talking to them works wonders...especially when it becomes totally uncool to listen to parents.