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LPC Is At "The Entertaining House" Today

Today I, along with The Blushing Hostess and Miss Janice, am over at The Entertaining House. We are talking about children and manners. I am the last to speak. Which is probably for the best. For example, on how to teach small ones,

Start small. Think globally, act locally. Really. Use the words, “In This House The Rules Are…”

• In this house we keep our bottoms on the chairs while we eat.

• In this house we taste everything on our plates. You don’t have to finish, but you have to try to see if your taste changed. Grownups like different foods than kids, and we need to know when you are becoming more grownup. (That said, no springing calamari or kale on them too early.) more…

I believe that realistic expectations may help us save civilization.

26 Responses

  1. I'm putting on my riding boots with baby X on my hip, on my way to read. I strongly dislike unruly behaviour in children. That's when I put my sunglasses on and roll my eyes continuously for ten minutes.

  2. I like your realistic expectations. And, I like the way you frame this, "Grownups like different foods than kids, and we need to know when you are becoming more grownup." Very clever!

  3. I did go read…well done…I do think manners have become a lost art in today's world which is really sad…not just at the table but in general…and not just among children but adults as well.

    I think we should be instructing our children in manners but the biggest teaching they get is in watching us and seeing us using our manners in a genuine way. Manners should be expected at home, at the store and eating places, at school and anywhere we go.

    Even though we go out to eat sparingly, how is it that each and every time, my little one's are complimented for their good manners and behavior by not just the wait staff but other customers…and in such a way like it is abnormal for children to behave in such a good way? For an example, over Christmas time, when I took my 3 little one's to see Santa I took them to a nicer resteraunt to eat. I almost started to get annoyed at the number of people stopping at our table to exclaim over their good manners and behavior. My little one's look at these people like "what is the big deal?"

    If they didn't act this way they know without a doubt that we would get up and walk out without getting to eat. Since we have had to do this. Ugh. Going out to eat is such a treat for us and yet they know this same behavior is expected out of them at home as well. They know they will be asked to leave the table and since they love to eat way to much, it usually just takes one reminder.

    The reason I share all of this is not to say my kids are so much better then other children. They are normal children, believe me. :) When did it become such a big deal for children to have manners or behave? I don't want my kids thinking they are doing something extrodinary just by having manners or for behaving.

    I also use the words "In this house" but I also use it for when they are at daycare also. Great post!

  4. I have an adverturous eater. He just came out that way. Sushi, mexican, calamari. Kale, too, if it's not a large amount and couched in a soup. While in YOUR home, he will eat everything and tell you it was wonderful. In my home, well, not always.
    My biggest manner requirement was shaking hands, looking people in the eye and trying to find a common ground. Say hello and then say something else — "thank you for the invitation", "your daughter and I are friends at school", "I heard you are just came back from Kathmandu".
    Now if I could just get him to get his left forearm off the dinner table!
    Thanks for your sterling insights. Always.

  5. At the risk of sounding like an old codger yelling at the kids to get off his lawn, I can't believe parents who don't teach their kids that there is no short-order cook employed at other people's homes. When we were kids and were fed a meal at someone else's house, we knew better than to ask for any food other than what appeared on the table, or what was offered by the hosts.

  6. This is a subject close to my heart. Bad-mannered children should be banished. Is that draconian enough for you?


    Miss W x

  7. Fortunately my children have been well behaved at restaurants, though I would like to expand their palates . . .

  8. Love the post, but I must say in response to Miss Whistle, we can't banish bad mannered kids without banishing their parents. And if parents are teaching their children manners and the child refuses, we'd have to look at the age and action. I wouldn't scoff at a three year old who does not put his knife in his fork after a meal. Manners to me may be different from my view. My parents come from very strict West Indian upbringing.And the way they ( and myself) are raised is that one social faux pas was like committing a violent crime. It was almost like you had lost your mind had you not said thank you.Although I choose to raise my children a little gentler, its good to see that we as mothers in today's world are having this conversation.

  9. Fantastic! I will bea heading right over to check out what you lovelies have to say!

  10. I loved this post and your past one and the one before and…well, I just love your blog!
    This is my first time commenting because I discovered it only recently and even though I am no WASP (I'm Argentinian actually, he) I can absolutely relate to most of what you write.
    I have 16 month old twin babies and manners are becoming an issue, but I am determined to teach how they should behave, and just as you and given my particular "expat married to someone from another country living in a 3rd one" situation, I am also determined to teach them to be sensitive to different manners in different cultures, and to do as they see. Your ideas are wonderful. Thank you so much.

  11. Queen, what is it with the boys and the forearm on the table? Like if they don't brace themselves, they'll fall into their meals.

    I confess I never knew there was a correct side to enter and exit a chair. I am gauche.

    I suspect your son and daughter are a delight to spend time with, LPC.

  12. I hope that manners have not become a thing of the past. While etiqutte classes may be a bit over the top for tots, I feel that good behaviour is NEVER out of style.
    Family sunday dinners and evenings out with the grandparents at the "Club" where our children needed to dress up and choose from the many eating implements that were staged at the left and right of their plates gave them an opportunity to practice. (my son still cringes when he sees the photos of him in his jacket and bow tie!)

  13. My niece Hilary just unearthed a book my Nana and Papa gave her, White Gloves and Party Manners. The inscription reads; "so you will be proper young ladies". Apparantly, "a white cardigan is almost a necessity to wear over party dresses when it's too warm for a coat". Who knew? XXOO

  14. Good for you! I'm afraid manners and proper etiquette are slowly disappearing – dying. I'd settle for just having a few common courtesies still intact. I'm so glad there are still those of us who insist on trying to teach our children and grandchildren. My daughters attended Cotillion all through their pre-teens and early teenage years, and then during high school they were instructors. Thank heavens they see manners as a must, and my granddaughters are being taught manners and civility.

  15. I love the second one! Nothing annoys me more than a child who refuses to try something new…or only eats red gummy bears!

  16. Oh yes. "In this house, we do not put our shoes on the [newly upholstered white] sofa."

    One can say that even if one does not have children. One is allowed to tell someone else's children what to do even when the children's mother is not doing what needs to be done. Even if it is obvious that the children act like wild monkeys in their own home.

  17. Literally LOL when I read your "In this house we taste everything on our plates." Long ago when my eldest was a wee one, that was one of my mantra's. One night I added mushrooms to a dish. Not a lot, mind you, but they were there. Needless to say, I told him he had to try a bite of everything. To make a long story short, the rest of the dinner made a re-appearance after one taste.

    You would have thought I had learned my lesson, but NOOOOOO, I also had child number two (a couple of years later) 'taste everything on her plate' – same result. By now you'd think I'd be smarter but NOOOOOO, child number three, years later, did the same thing but fortunately made it to the bathroom in time.

    I love the thought in theory, practice is another story.

    These are the same children that 'lost it' when I carved their first pumpkin and they took a look at the inside. It has to be genetics and I believe it came from their father :)

  18. I didn't want to say anything on my own blog, but all the advice given was confirmation that I have done/am doing everything I need to. I never have and never will prepare more than one meal. My children must eat at least one bite of whatever it is I have prepared. That said, there is always something that each child likes — whether it be the main course or the vegetable. My children love Thai, Spanish, Cuban, French, Italian… there is nothing that they won't try.

    When I was growing up I actually had to change out of my uniform and put on something clean and presentable for dinner.

    This I do not enforce with my children. Our lives are busy enough with activities and sports that I am happy enough to have everyone at the table at the same time.

    I also had wine with my parents at the table. Watered down, but I had my own glass. I am sure it started when we were in France. Needless to say I do not practice this with my children either!

    Thank you for participating!


  19. Manners are a pet peeve of mine. Not only do so many people not teach their kids manners, but they act like it's uptight to care about this. Manners help us feel comfortable and know how to act, what to expect, in any situation.
    I'm going to go check it out now!

  20. loved and agreed with every little bit of advice that you shared!

    you must have the best-behaved and well-adjusted offspring ever!



  21. Exactly Maureen. Manners are to make us comfortable. So glad you all enjoyed the post. And yes, my kids are well-behaved. Not perfect, who is. But they are generally good in company. And cute besides:). But remember, I'm a COMPLETELY unbiased mother.

  22. Manners matter. No argument there. I love the " I will know when you have become a grown-up" –so clever! I might just use that one of these days.

  23. I never have and never will prepare more than one meal.

    I was so surprised to see that a friend of mine prepared separate meals not just for her kids but a separate meal for each of them.

    At each meal.

    I asked her husband, who has been a friend since college, about it. He shrugged and said he has decided to stay out of it as she is the one who is shouldering the burden.

    I had no idea anyone would do this sort of thing. The closest my mom ever came to this was making my brother a hamburger on the rare nights she made liver and onions because he really and truly detested the meal. Other than that, if you didn't like what she was cooking, you didn't have to eat. We Did Not Waste in our family and my mother was not a short order cook.

  24. Etiquette relates to protocol or rules about behavior; good manners are about making other people feel comfortable and treating them with kindness and respect.

    [Many rules of etiquette are ultimately based on consideration of others – e.g., don't leave your spoon in the soup bowl since you might hit it and send soup flying across the table.]

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