20-40-60 Etiquette- Table manners
QUESTION: I would like to know whether table manners are still in vogue. During the holidays when everyone sat down to my lovely turkey dinner, there were several young children who kept getting up out of their seats (to get something, to tell their mother something, just whatever). No one made any attempt to curb this behavior and to keep the children seated. Should I have had a “children’s table,” or would they have just interrupted by leaving that table, too? I did not feel like it was appropriate for me to correct the behavior, but I also thought it was impolite.
CALLIE’S ANSWER: This is not your place. The parents should deal with this behavior. A kid’s table could be nice, but I don’t think it would help. Blow this off; you can’t control other people’s children.
LILLIE-BETH’S ANSWER: If you have young children at a big holiday meal, their manners are not going to be perfect. It’s hard for them to sit still and hard for parents to teach that behavior all at once. Teaching good behavior happens over time and not just at one meal. Also, any mother of young children is going to be stressed because they require so much from her all the time. Maybe that mother was tired and wanted to take the path of least resistance that day — not correcting her children at a gathering, knowing family was around to help. I don’t know the answer.
However, from your statement, it doesn’t sound like the children were being destructive but only distracting. A children’s table is one solution, but that might not have solved your perceived problem of keeping them away from adults. Having little ones at any gathering injects into it an unpredictable element and requires some flexibility. Expect good behavior, but let little things slide if you can.
HELEN’S ANSWER: My best solution to this question is to have a children’s table, but close enough to the adult’s table that the small children know their parents are nearby.
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