Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Mealtime Manners

Thank you to Tamy at 3 Sides of Crazy for starting The Revival of Common Courtesy.

Whether your table manners are formal or informal, the do's and don'ts often vary greatly depending on whether you are at home having a casual meal, dining at a restaurant, having a special guest, or even depending on where you live. It may be perfectly acceptable to slurp your soup directly from the bowl in certain geographic locations. Not so, in others.

For instance, my husband's parents are originally from England, and though they moved to the U. S. in 1961, he grew up with far more formal table manners than I. One DID NOT put one's elbows on the table... ever. Also, everything was eaten with a utensil, regardless of what food it was, even French fries. There was no such thing as finger food. And if he or one of his brothers burped at the table, they would get smacked. I'm not condoning a belch at the table, but then again, I wouldn't smack my child for it, either. Everyone is different.When I was growing up, I had to ask to be excused from the table before leaving, and I had to take my plate to the kitchen. I have tried to teach my children not to just get up from the table without being excused... Then, I got remarried. My teenage step-daughters INHALE their food. They are finished when we've barely begun, no matter that we all started eating at the same time. I've tried to teach them to ask before they leave the table and to rinse their plates. Sometimes they do; sometimes they don't. I think I will begin to focus on this even more now that our meals as a group are fewer and fewer. I think it's impolite just to get up from the table and walk away while others are still eating. Is it just me?
There is one thing I won't tolerate at the dinner table. Cell phones! My two teenage step-daughters have been guilty of texting during a meal, and I absolutely cannot stand this. I think it is the rudest behavior. My 12 year olds don't bring their cell phones to the table. Sometimes my step-daughters still do, particularly when we are at restaurants, and it drives me crazy! Sometimes they think I won't notice them texting under the table, but I do! I. Simply. Can't. Stand. It. I know it's not just me!

I'd love for you to join in this meme with your mealtime manners!


  1. Diana, this was fantastic! Thank you for broadening our geographic area. I too grew up in a family where we were EXPECTED to ask permission to leave the table, no elbows, etc... Oh to bring back Leave it to Beaver or Father Knows Best and family courtesy! I don't allow phones at the table either!! Dinner time is family time - NO EXCEPTIONS! Thank you for participating - I really enjoy your posts.

  2. Italian with 6 kids at the table. No manners!

  3. We have something else in common. My hubby's mother is from England. She came over around the same time frame as your in-laws, maybe a little earlier.

    And, no, it's not just you. The kids shouldn't be texting or talking on the phone during family dinner time. Hats should also be removed.

  4. I agree - no texting or cell phones at the table, no hats, and no elbows or belches. No chewing with an open mouth. And kids must ask to be excused AND take their plates to the sink. Please and thank you are a given. I think manners are so important and it's sad to see so many people who DON'T think they are important!

  5. Cell phones at the table are the worst! My nephew, will text all through dinner given the chance.

  6. Our kids are still at the age of learning table manners. We are teaching them pretty strict manners and hope that some them stick with them into adulthood. While we don't make them take thier plates to the kitchen yet; we will when they are to an age where they can do it without dropping it. There will never be a cell phone at our table. Meal time is important for us. It is our chance to reconnect and be a family. I think it is important to spend that time together.

  7. Just when I was finally able to bring civilization to the table with my own children, they grew up and we are in training again with grandchildren. Do not eat peas with your fingers. Keep your feet out of your chair. Chew with your mouth closed. Never ending, but maybe they'll catch on before adulthood.

  8. Thanks for visiting my blog! This is a GOOD post. I totally agree about cell phones at the table. And our kids must ask to be excused before leaving the table. And sometimes we say no, not yet. The family is still enjoying your company. (That's hard for them to get surly about. You know. There's a compliment included.) I think I need to be a little more diligent about the elbows thing, etc. Sometimes I point things out to my children and just say I want you to know that that is rude. You can do it here with the family, but not in a restaurant or at somebody else's house. I like your blog.

  9. Thanks for commenting on my site. It was fun to stop by yours. I agree about the cell phone thing. My kids are too young to have them, but my bro-in-law always texts everywhere, especially during serious conversations he usually starts with you. I don't get it. I am a great multi-tasker, but it is difficult for me to text and talk and HE IS A GUY!

  10. My parents were very strict about not talking with your mouth full.

  11. no one knows anything about table manners anymore, even adults at restaurants!! yuk
    go see what you won on my blog, should look familiar!

  12. Growing up, I remember the whole family sitting together at the dinner table. It was a way for everyone to catch up with each other. There were no cell phones, no phone calls at all! :-)

  13. My daughter dropped a couple of guys because of poor table manners. Cell phones are usually turned off when people come home around here. But it seems there does need to be new rules for cell phones. My sil has it almost glued to her head or checking for calls continuously. I don't answer my land line phone when I have company. If it's the kids I will but I don't talk long. I think manners really do need to be revisited!!Great post!

    Hugs Giggles

  14. Good Post Di! What struck me so funny, Is Belching was considered Rude but a Smack was not! haha
    anyway, I like good table manners and Have tried to teach my boys well, BUT... when we are alone at home with NO guests they slip up and lately I am letting them slide. They Do ALWAYS clean up their own area and they never use the cell phone at the table. When we have company my youngest will ask to be excused. I guess they could be better but like Queen said.. Hey We're italian! haha

  15. oh. you'd have kicked me out of your table as soon as possible!
    we don't have a dining table at home.
    we have our meal in front of TV on a carpet. actually, we don't always do meal together (and i know this is not good)
    but of course we do teach our children to be polite whenever we have meals in restaurant or others home.


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