A bit of this and that...with added frangipani.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Return of the Table Manner Tyrant

Now that the children are getting a bit older, I have been focussing on their table manners more than before. Piggies at the table makes my blood boil, and I come by it honestly. I have mentioned before how my dad was a stickler for table manners. I have previously referred to him as the Table Manner Nazi, but I now prefer the Table Manner Tyrant. If Dad were here today, I think he would get a kick out of the moniker, either that or he would rap my knuckles with his fork. Growing up, we kids all lived in fear of the fork; those were different times, the 70s.

Here are just a few of the rules to which we had to strictly adhere:

  1. Take small bites
  2. Chew your food 26 times
  3. Hold your fork like a pencil not a spade
  4. Eat every food on your plate, taking it in turns
  5. Elbows off the table
  6. When you are not cutting your meat, your other hand is at your side
  7. Finish what's in your mouth before putting more in, even better...
  8. Wait until you are finished what's in your mouth before loading up your fork with the next mouthful, and...
  9. If you can't remember that, put your fork down between each bite
  10. Use your knife to push food onto your fork, not your thumb
  11. Don't lick your knife
  12. Chew with your mouth closed
  13. Don't talk with your mouth full
  14. Don't gulp your drink
  15. Don't slurp your drink
  16. Twist the spaghetti onto a fork, don't suck it up
  17. When you get to the bottom of your milk shake and the straw starts to make a slurping sound, stop drinking, it is done
  18. No singing at the table
  19. No playing with your food
  20. Sit still
  21. Sit on your seat properly
  22. Eat over your plate
  23. Don't drink the last of your milk in your cereal bowl, use your spoon (I am not great at enforcing this one purely because of my impatience to get on the road of a morning), and...
  24. Don't fill your spoon so much that the milk all dribbles off
  25. Sit close to the table
  26. With regards to cutlery, start from the outside and work your way in
  27. You have to try it before you say you don't like it
  28. You don't have to finish everything on your plate, but don't take more than you can eat, and see rule #4
So you can see why I am probably a good candidate for therapy? The really crazy thing is that now that I am a parent, each and every one of those rules makes sense to me. Of course, I am not trying to teach the kids every rule all at once, but I am certainly trying to get some of these across to them. They don't have to live in fear of the fork, but they do have to live in fear of the the Evil Eye, the stern voice and the poke-y finger.

What are your views on table manners? Are these rules OTT or do you think they have value? Do you enforce some of these rules in your home? At what age do you think it is time to start cracking down on poor table manners? 

It's FlogYoBlogFriday! Visit Glowless to find out the rules, and you can link up below or over there, whichever.


  1. wow, i'm a total manner failure, apparently! 26 times? really? does someone count the chews?
    i think if the attitude and volume are good, and no one's talking or belching, we're having a nice dinner!

  2. LOL! I have been coming down on my brood for all this and more-we are living parallel lives you and I...

  3. Sherilin: I don't know why he chose that arbitrary number, but we aimed for that and if we got to 20 we had well and truly chewed our food. I am a very slow eater as a result, but I rarely suffer from digestive problems.

    Susan: I tell you, it is hard. Sometimes I just want to say forget it, and let them go for it. I have heard some people say they have a no manners day, where one day per week they can just relax, but the rest of the week they have to do their best to use good table manners. As I am starting to ride them a bit more, I think 'no-manners' day might be a good idea (with a certain degree of reasonableness).

  4. I hate it when my kids eat with their mouths open. I hate the noise when anyone does that. One of my pet erks in life. It's an ongoing battle at our house :)

  5. Caz: It really irks me too! I am not backwards about coming forwards with that one. My usual response is: "Why am I hearing you eat?"

  6. No. 23 has made me laugh. Mind you, if the three year old starts doing it, I probably won't be laughing!
    My father in law is fascinated with how people chew and how long they chew for! He always comments on how `wonderfully' our daughter chews her food! Must be an older generation thing!! :)

  7. What about no TV during dinner? That was a big rule at our house!

  8. Seeing someone push food unto their forks with their thumbs is my altimate pet peeve. That and seeing someone suck food off their fingers. Gross!

  9. Ooooo...I must be kind of a slob. I no way follow that many rules.

  10. I have a few rules with my boy (5) but I am only starting to get a bit stricter on that. Mostly it's for himself for future eating out dates and the like.
    My godmother invited me on a ski trip when I was 14 and took me to fancy restaurants to teach me table manners. At least that's what I recall! I am thankful for it though, just as much as I was under shock when I had my first meals with my stepdaughter (then 14) who made me realize that, yes, when a young girl eats with her elbow on the table, with open mouth and emitting noise... it can actually spoil your own dining experience..
    (i have only voiced a few humorous concerns though and we all noticed a radical change once she had a bf..) I think table manners DO matter !

  11. Geez, I'm amazed you even remembered to actually eat the food what with all those rules to remember!! he he

  12. Shelley - Your post brought back memories of my childhood. My Dad gave up on trying to teach us table manners. He did something more 'wicked'. He was in the Army and got the Mess bearer (waiter) complete with uniform and big turban to come wait on us at home for three days! Imagine! We had to dress for dinner and eat under the watchful eyes of someone who was used to serving Generals! Was enough to make us remember our table manners then and for a life time!!
    I loved your post on your sister. Never having a sister, you made me long for one! The cookies (especially the boyfriend eating them!) and the interviews were the best! She sounds like a wonderful woman - like her sister :)

  13. Glowless: Yes! No TV during dinner was definitely one of the rules!

    Kellie: Not sure why Dad was so interested in the chewing bit, but maybe you are right, maybe it is a generational thing.

    Kara: Yup the thumb things irks me, but I might have been guilty of licking my fingers the odd time, but only when I don't have a napkin and never at the table.

    CW: I probably do most of them by habit, but every now and then I have to catch myself with the elbows on the table or I find myself loading up my fork before I have finished my mouthful.

    Suburp: I wish I learned table manners by going to fancy restaurants instead of 'by fork'.

    Bigwords: I was definitely distracted during dinner times what with watching out for the fork and all... ;-)

    Corinne: That is an approach I have never heard before. How ingenious! BTW, I always love when you comment on my blog. You seem to spend time reading a few blog posts when you come visit. Lovely to have you here once again.

  14. ha. the eat a spoonful of everything was the worst rule at the table...i gagged a plenty on lima beans...

    congrats on the goddess award....

  15. This had me laughing! I gave you one of my weekly Goddess Awards which you can collect anytime at my place.

    Happy Blogging!
    ~ Elise

  16. Found you through the Goddess. She is great, right?

    So funny! Too much for me to even remember. No wonder my wife is always yelling at me and the boys while we eat.


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