We have a beautiful grand-daughter from our son and daughter-in-law. We all get along well.
However, when we go out to dinner or have them over for supper, table manners don't exist for our grand-daughter, now two-and-a-half.
She attends home day care and a day-care centre regularly, as her mother works.
She cannot handle even a spoon yet, so eats with her fingers and refuses help.
After one bite, she leaves the table to play, returns, takes another bite or two, leaves again.
When a parent insists she sits to eat, she cries hard and is soothed by Mom, “Yes, she’s tired.”
A pout, some play, and she eventually comes back for another bite or some dessert.
This scenario, especially in a restaurant, is extremely stressful for me. My younger son refuses to join us at a restaurant or even a meal at home with her.
Question: If they dine at Grannie's house, can Grannie make the rules of proper mealtime behaviour and manners:
You sit, you eat, you participate in conversation, you don't fling food around. When you leave the table you’re not allowed back to eat.
If it’s permissible for me to enforce table manners in our house, how do I present this to my son and daughter-in-law?
I want the time we have with our family and our granddaughter to be fun for all.
Toddler at the Table
Reality check: The child’s parents have already responded to their toddler’s mealtime behaviour differently.
Now, changing the rules at your house or in your company at a restaurant, doesn’t happen with a simple declaration.
You need to chat first, non-confrontationally, and ask their opinion on mealtime manners for that age group in general and, then specifically, for their child.
They may have reasons for their casual approach: e.g. Mom too tired from work to impose rules yet; or they both don’t believe in it till she’s less restless.
Or, lax rules at the home day-care that created this approach; or a sincere belief in treating the toddler stage permissively.
Trust me, if you just start announcing your rules without knowing their attitudes on child-rearing, there won’t be “fun for all” in this picture.
Read what the experts say about raising toddlers and, have a gentle (and respectful) discussion with your daughter-in-law, about what you’ve learned:
Example: One writer on what many two-year-olds can handle: sitting quietly at the table for a few minutes, using a napkin, with prompting, to wipe their face, using a fork or spoon to eat their food, neatly or not.
And from a parenting coach writing in Today’s Parent:
“It’s all a game to little ones, so it’s up to parents to set the mealtime rules right from the start. This means telling (or showing) kids what you expect from them, and what the consequences will be if they don’t follow the rules.”
In other words, whatever rules there are going to be, have to start at the child’s home, not at Grannie’s.
So, whatever talk you have with the parents, has to be about them and their thoughts on what they want her to learn and when. Not just about what you can or cannot tolerate.
Be a caring resource for them, without being just critical and dogmatic. That’s how the three generations can begin to end up enjoying visits in a relaxed atmosphere.
Meanwhile, maybe have less restaurant meals and more casual snacks at your home, for a while.
I’m 23, interning in an office where I hope to have a future. I like the workplace, my assigned tasks, and my boss.
However, another worker behaves like I’m there to do his Joe-jobs.
Initially, I performed these menial tasks. But he’s increasingly asking me to do more of his work.
I’m now too busy, and resent being treated like I work directly for him.
But I don’t want to jeopardize my future by refusing him, so haven’t told my boss.
Bosses welcome good ideas. They’re a lot less comfortable dealing with complaints.
List these “menial” tasks and see the boss, with these considerations: 1) Whether there’s another whole job required to cover them, which you could recommend.
2) If doing them calls for more recognized responsibilities for you (which you could then seek);
Or, 3) Whether all that you do proves you’re a highly valuable employee to be hired after the internship.
Tip of the day:
Grandparents can be helpful to parents on early child-rearing but must show sensitivity and respect.