anyone else find it frustrating to eat dinner together?

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Posted 12/7/2012 by lattemomof3 in NSBR Board
 

lattemomof3
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Posted: 12/7/2012 6:23:14 AM
I have always cooked dinner 5 or 6 nights a week, because I want my family to connect & eat a healthy-ish meal together. It's a parenting thing that's really important to me. I don't expect my kids to act perfectly, they're kids - BUT more often than not the meal is just not - peaceful. Our kids are 13, 10 & 6, so I'm not sure if it's their ages that don't mesh well or what. For example, last night dd6 started out telling everyone her high and low for the day, she has a really loud voice, so dd13 made some snarky comment about it, which made dd6 mad. Ds10 poured the ranch dressing onto his plate too fast YET AGAIN & had a huge pile of it, so dh got after him about that (in a normal voice), but ds was upset & told us to stop yelling at him.

It usually ends with dd13 getting up from the table when we're done & saying, in a way only a 13 year old can "well, just another nice family meal".

I swear, I'm starting to see the merit in doing what my sis in law does by always eating with her family in front of the tv!!! Does anyone have the key to the kingdom for a peaceful meal, or is this just the way dinner with kids is? And before anyone says "well, I wouldn't let my kids.....blah, blah, blah-", our kids are good kids, & we discipline them consistently, but for whatever reason when I hear the song "let there be peace on earth" I always think of dinnertime.

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Posted: 12/7/2012 6:36:05 AM
If you figure it out, let me know. Ours usually end up the same way.






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Posted: 12/7/2012 6:45:51 AM
Sorry, we usually had issues over "devices" at the table.


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Posted: 12/7/2012 7:00:46 AM
Sounds like supper at my house Since my DDs are older and one is working/going to college, I'm just glad when we can all sit down and eat together.

Darkangel090260
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Posted: 12/7/2012 7:04:48 AM
We started work with table manner as soon as they could set up at the table.
They know to use there inside voices. They know they need to show respect for each other and us.

13 year old would be washing wall for a week for pop off to the sibling.

we use a talking stick, when the person has the stick no one ells may talk. Beside to ask a question.

Table manner and not something that just show up it has to be taught.


I refuse to have animal at my dinner table (the reason i can not stand to have there friends over for meals.)


I have quite a few learing disabilitys that effect my spelling a grammer. I do know my grammer and spelling suck. I have been working on this problem all my adult life.

Torm
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Posted: 12/7/2012 7:07:24 AM
We have four kids - 17, 12, 7 and 5 and we eat together every single day. Obviously there are days where one or another are missing or we have an extra one or two - but it's always together.

There is bickering, laughing, sharing, poking and no matter what way we arrange the seating - someone will be sitting wrong or too close or chew too loudly according to the person next to them - but that's what family is. I wouldn't change it for anything.



ksuheather
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Posted: 12/7/2012 7:15:03 AM
Sounds like dinner at our house and our kids are only 8, 4 and 2. I still think it's important to keep at it.

The ranch puddle would have done me in. I get tired of buying condiments which when compared to actual food are $$ so anyone who makes a puddle instead of asking for help gets to buy the next bottle. It's one of my irritations because we splurge on super duper awesome bbq sauce.



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gar
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Posted: 12/7/2012 7:27:36 AM
On the whole I'd say that sounds pretty typical Obviously any rudeness should be dealt with but I'd say its normal sibling stuff especially taking into account their varying ages.


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Posted: 12/7/2012 7:31:08 AM
Dinner is a nightmare for me, honestly - all around. I dread that time of day. I'd like to fast forward from 4:00 - 7:00 every night.

Lilyloams
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Posted: 12/7/2012 7:33:00 AM
I solved the too much ranch/bbq/ketchup on the plate thing....I bought little condiment cups and put one at each place so they have to pour it in that instead of on their plate.

condiment ramekins

voltagain
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Posted: 12/7/2012 7:37:42 AM
Your kids may be good kids at other times. But they know that for some reason you are willing to over look rudeness at the table.

If the 6 year old has a loud voice it is up to you, as the parent, to remind her to use her inside voice. As the parent it was up to you to give the 13 year old a "hand slap" for the snarkiness toward her sister. And it is time to forbid the 10 year old to pour his own salad dressing. He can either do it right, ask for help or eat his salad without it. He should not have gotten away with telling you to not yell at him. He is not the parent in charge of correcting you/dh.

As long as you are willing to let the rude behavior go at the table it is what you are going to get until you address it and enforce other behavior.


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Posted: 12/7/2012 7:40:07 AM
Okay, those little ramekins are CUTE! I entertain a lot, and I will be getting some of those.

Mealtime here with just family is usually pretty peaceful. No, I guess the right word would be fun. My dining room looks into the living room, and usually the TV is on, but we still end up ignoring it and talking most of the time. Several nights a month I will have my parents and neighbors over, and my kitchen bar and dining table will be full, as well as the deck. But cooking/entertaining friends and family is kind of my "thing", and the noise doesn't bother me.


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Posted: 12/7/2012 7:42:20 AM

Ds10 poured the ranch dressing onto his plate too fast YET AGAIN &
We bought little metal cups and filled them for the boys. THEN put them on their plate when they had not mastered pouring directly on their food from the bottle or boat.


Our kids are 13, 10 & 6, so I'm not sure if it's their ages that don't mesh well or what. For example, last night dd6 started out telling everyone her high and low for the day, she has a really loud voice, so dd13 made some snarky comment about it, which made dd6 mad.

Do you just let them spout out randomly? When our boys were younger we would have a dinner topic and go from person to person. The boys were not to just talk about whatever was in their heads randomly. That is how I was raised and so was my husband.

Once a week we each got to suggest a topic before dinner (I was Monday night for a LONG time) and sometimes my parents agreed and sometimes they said no. But at least I was heard.

We would not have been allowed to be rude and/or dismissive to a sibling at dinner, either. That would have gotten us a glass of milk in the kitchen and going to bed early after apologizing for being rude.

Try reworking your mealtime. I am adamantly opposed to eating in front of a TV and think that dinner time at the family table is so important!



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lattemomof3
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Posted: 12/7/2012 8:00:41 AM
We do have an "only 1 person talking at a time" rule, we did ground dd13 from her phone for today for the snarky remark, & ds10 got sent to bed early. Dd6 got a talk daily about using her inside voice- I tell ya- we are doing it by the books & it's still not peaceful!

But y'all are making me feel better, I thought we were the only ones with dinner drama.

lattemomof3
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Posted: 12/7/2012 8:08:20 AM
I mean we grounded her right then, at dinner, for using her phone today (they don't get to use them after dinner anyway because we're busy w/ homework, showers,etc).

lattemomof3
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Posted: 12/7/2012 8:11:02 AM
Love the condiment cups! Those would work! As a 10 year old, we want him to pour his own dressing, but those would give him a target & stopping place.

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Posted: 12/7/2012 8:27:28 AM
Sounds like dinner at our house too!

Like a pp, we use little restaurant ramekins too for ranch, ketchup, etc. to avoid spills.

I'm pretty picky about table manners, so I tend to nag (my 7 yo likes to put his knees up and eat with his hands), which is something I can't stop because I'm not ok with the continued bad manners.

The kids tend to pick on each other too, but we reprimand as soon as it happens. I think these times are great for talks about expected and appropriate behaviors - because they are a captive audience!!

I do try to allow silliness though, and we ask them a lot of questions about their day (we do most/least favorite part of the day too).

I don't have answers for you, but I will say that the 1 dinner where everyone ends up laughing hysterically, makes the other 10 dinners where I was completely annoyed by the end, so worth it!
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Posted: 12/7/2012 8:37:00 AM

Your kids may be good kids at other times. But they know that for some reason you are willing to over look rudeness at the table.

If the 6 year old has a loud voice it is up to you, as the parent, to remind her to use her inside voice. As the parent it was up to you to give the 13 year old a "hand slap" for the snarkiness toward her sister. And it is time to forbid the 10 year old to pour his own salad dressing. He can either do it right, ask for help or eat his salad without it. He should not have gotten away with telling you to not yell at him. He is not the parent in charge of correcting you/dh.

As long as you are willing to let the rude behavior go at the table it is what you are going to get until you address it and enforce other behavior.


This ^^^

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Posted: 12/7/2012 8:56:17 AM
I love eating dinner together, we have 2 boys and our dinners are pretty peaceful.


Ds10 poured the ranch dressing onto his plate too fast YET AGAIN & had a huge pile of it, so dh got after him about that (in a normal voice), but ds was upset & told us to stop yelling at him.


I am seeing a glimpse of why your dinners are frustrating. I used to get caught with pouring my dressing too fast at least once a week -- so I switched to hidden valley ranch with a pour spout. But if it wsan't intention, why "get after him" --it happens and move on. Perhaps in the midst of the chaos he heard the normal voice as yelling (ie. overly critical) and my heart breaks for him that in the situation you described he is the one that got sent to bed early.


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sa27
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Posted: 12/7/2012 9:38:49 AM
I empathize. I hate dinner time on weeknights. About 2-3 months ago, I decided to stop doing things just because other people do it. Family dinners on weeknights are one of the things I cut out. Here's how I look at it: I eat breakfast with them. I'm with them for 45 minutes before they go to school in the morning. I'm with them from 2:30 until 5:30 or so when dinner is ready. I'm with them from 6:00 until they go to bed. When I say with them, that's what I mean. It's interactive time. Playing, reading, crafting, singing, dancing, listening, and talking with them. Declining to sit down and eat is not a huge deal. I still make dinner. I still serve dinner. I stay in the kitchen (usually unloading dishwasher and reloading, wiping counters, etc) and we still talk while they eat. But the small change of me not sitting and trying to eat at the same time has made a world of difference. They still get corrected. They see table manners every morning at breakfast and lunch and dinner on the weekends. Our evenings go much smoother! A less stressed momma = more relaxed home

Maryland
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Posted: 12/7/2012 9:52:16 AM
Ours is like that too! I don't understand what the importance of everyone eating together? I understand why families should spend time together, but why does it have to be when eating? We all sit around the table and talk at times throughout the day, or in the car when we go places together. Also, our kids are in lots of activities, and we are always running one or another here or there. But we really talk to each other and joke around while in the car going to activities. We also have great memories and always laugh when we talk about their games, dance recitals, etc.

So, I think as long as the family spends time together having fun, that's what's important, not necessiarily while they are eating together. That's just my opinion.


SusanArdoin
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Posted: 12/7/2012 9:58:00 AM
As chaotic as that might be, it won't last forever. You might hate it now, but you'll remember it fondly when they're older. We're down to one kid still left at home (DS-17) and lately it's just me eating by myself, or with the cat. DS has work or practice, DH is coming home from work late and I can't wait until 7:30 to eat. So I turn on the news and eat by myself. When we're all home at the same time, I do try to have dinner for us all together, though.

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vicloo
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Posted: 12/7/2012 9:58:07 AM
Would love to have some of those ramekins to match the fiesta ware colors. Just don't need 10-12 of each color!

MergeLeft
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Posted: 12/7/2012 10:00:53 AM
I agree that it sounds like some gentle lessons on dinner table manners are in order. I was raised that only polite conversation and good manners allowed at dinner - those who could not be polite after a reminder were invited to leave the table. That would go for the loud talker, the hand slapper or the dressing gusher.



melanell
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Posted: 12/7/2012 10:01:11 AM
Right now we're fine, so maybe it is the current ages. Mine ar 2.5 & 9.5. A few months ago we had issues with the little one throwing fits, but we just hauled his butt up to his crib to settle down, and after less than a week of doing that he was ready to be nice at the dinner table again.


Now, goodness knows how things will go when we have a teen at the table.

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Posted: 12/7/2012 11:03:49 AM
I mean we grounded her right then, at dinner, for using her phone today (they don't get to use them after dinner anyway because we're busy w/ homework, showers,etc).>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Basically it is a meaningless grounding. Family rules already had the phone out of bounds to be used. She can't use it today in school...so the punishment was a non punishment. The hours she is allowed to use the phone is already very restricted.

Next time have her write a letter to her sibling listing 3 good qualities of the offended sibling. Focus on what is nice about little sister. Have little sibling read the letter outloud to the family at the next family meal. (save the letters! It will be a nice gift from one child to the other when they are adults) We all could use affirming words from the ones who have offended us.


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Posted: 12/7/2012 11:05:47 AM
Mine are always nice. Not to be snarky but they aren't anything like that. My kids are 14 and 10 and are far enough in age that they never fight (one of each). I know how lucky I am because I have 2 sisters and we fought like no one ever should.





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Posted: 12/7/2012 11:36:51 AM
I have a 3yr old and 7 month old.. It can get chaotic but I'll take that any day if it means were eating together. Growing up the only family meal my hubby had was Thanksgiving dinner . It's important to him to have dinner together.


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asr70
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Posted: 12/7/2012 11:48:13 AM

Next time have her write a letter to her sibling listing 3 good qualities of the offended sibling. Focus on what is nice about little sister. Have little sibling read the letter outloud to the family at the next family meal. (save the letters! It will be a nice gift from one child to the other when they are adults) We all could use affirming words from the ones who have offended us.
I like this. I think, while you say you're kids are good kids and you discipline them consistently there is something missing -respect for others in the family maybe? - that is showing it's face when you are gathered together in a confined environment like this. Are they like this in the car and stuff as well?




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Posted: 12/7/2012 12:15:15 PM

Your kids may be good kids at other times. But they know that for some reason you are willing to over look rudeness at the table.

If the 6 year old has a loud voice it is up to you, as the parent, to remind her to use her inside voice. As the parent it was up to you to give the 13 year old a "hand slap" for the snarkiness toward her sister. And it is time to forbid the 10 year old to pour his own salad dressing. He can either do it right, ask for help or eat his salad without it. He should not have gotten away with telling you to not yell at him. He is not the parent in charge of correcting you/dh.

As long as you are willing to let the rude behavior go at the table it is what you are going to get until you address it and enforce other behavior.


I agree with this.

I am usually loathe to be "that person" but I've got to say dinner with my 13 and 15 yo is not as described in OP.

A little chit chat about our day, maybe a story or two. It's usually pleasant (knock wood!). Quick, but pleasant




CnBsmommy
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Posted: 12/7/2012 12:18:45 PM
ours are 14 & 15. we've never had issues & eat together everyday. our biggest issue is the kids staying up too late because they are in each others rooms talking.

sugarcoated
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Posted: 12/7/2012 12:27:40 PM
It's time for you to start teaching manners from scratch. Don't get me wrong, our family dinners can be rambunctious. But I did not as a child, so my children don't, just get up from the table. They have to be excused. Also, there should be some kudos to the cook. How do you typically lay out dinner time?

For at least two generations, this is what we do or have done.

We had to take turns setting the table, got told to wash up, then we got called to the table. Then we ate, using table manners, at minimum. LOL We'd either have a quiet chat or often there would be teasing, poking, crying, etc. They'd be reminded to keep it down. Everyone shared a part of their day. Dad says thank you to mom and compliments the meal. The kids say thank you too. Then we can start asking to be excused. Usually at that point, the evening is laid out. Like an older kid will say where they are going or what they are doing. Mom/Dad will remind the person whose turn it is to clean up and do dishes, etc.

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Posted: 12/7/2012 12:45:06 PM


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