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Thread: Outsourcing Etiquette Lessons to our Children

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    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    Outsourcing Etiquette Lessons to our Children

    I just read an interesting article about how some parents are outsourcing etiquette lessons for their kids. In the article they interview a restaurant owner who hosts a family night where kids are welcome, but are expected to behave and the owner personally enforces the rules.

    The place is Chenery Park, a restaurant with low lights, cloth napkins, $24 grilled salmon and “family night” every Tuesday. Children are welcome, with a catch: They are expected to behave — and to watch their manners, or learn them. Think upscale dining with training wheels.... etiquette experts say that new approaches are needed because parents no longer have the stomach, time or know-how to play bad cop and teach manners. Dinnertime has become a free-for-all in many households, with packed family schedules, the television on in the background and a modern-day belief of many parents that they should simply let children be children.
    A link to the full article: Eat, Drink, and Be Nice - Teaching Children Manners

    This is pretty intriguing to me. I would love a venue outside of the home to take chitlins to for such an experience. We have been working with Sprout (the 12-year old boy) on how to hold a fork and other table manners. No one has bothered to teach him basic manners, like not eating all his food with his hands or chewing with his mouth shut, in his life yet, or to enforce the few things he does know.

    It is kind of annoying that more parents don't take the time to teach manners these days. Does anyone have thoughts on a restaurant, or other public/private venues, schooling children (and parents) on proper etiquette?
    Occupy Your Brain!

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    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    Send him to DetroitPlanner charm school! Your child will learn.
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  3. #3
    Cyburbian
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    If they learn from their parents' example, then no outsourcing is needed. I didn't teach my kids manners, I demonstrated manners. They grew up thinking that courtesy is normal behavior.

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    OH....IO Hink's avatar
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    I sure don't have time to pay attention to my kids, I have too much going on in MY life. I mean it isn't like I created their life, and am responsible for THEIR actions. Seriously.


    As an aside I think this is a major reason that our country is so broken. We do not have a "traditional" place where family exists. In many ways this is a good thing, but I think when it comes to dinners it is a bad thing. My personal memory of dinner is very clear - we ate the food that was put on our plates or we sat there, we talked about our day, our friends, and what we were doing in school, and then we helped clean up. After dinner I could watch TV if I had done my homework.

    It wasn't negotiable, it wasn't flexible. Those were the rules. That was the dynamic. With so much emphasis on kids playing sports (4 year olds?!!!) there is less time in the home for the couple years that parents can create this expectation. Now it is fast food and out the door. I think this had led to two negatives in society - 1. We are fat. 2. We do not value the family dynamic as much as we once did. We don't know each other and what is going on in our kids lives beyond the recital schedule for the year.

    I know it is going to be tough with my kids and my wife's schedule, but I am going to work to assure that there is a standard dinner procedure. We may vary, but they need to understand the regular, expected action.
    A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools. -Douglas Adams

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    Cyburbian ursus's avatar
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    I'm torn because I like to think we teach manners and etiquette at home, but at the same time I think a restaurant owner wanting to teach kids manners is kinda fun.

    I remember my sisters and mom teaching me how to use a fork left-handed and cut with a knife. Tear my roll at a nice place, put the butter on my plate and use it from there, etc. Older sisters are good for things like that. "Hey ursus, if you're going on a date you need to take some gum. Offer her a piece too. And the all important one: "You've got to q-tip your ears every day after you shower and especially well before a date. There's always the chance she's going to put her tongue in your ear if things are going well...."

    God bless you, older sisters.
    "...I would never try to tick Hink off. He kinda intimidates me. He's quite butch, you know." - Maister

  6. #6
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    I know I have been in a public place or private place open to the public many times and wished someone had the... is it authority? the gumption? I'm not sure... to direct a family to perhaps act more appropriately for the venue.

    We intend to make etiquette and manners an important and regular part of our parenting, but I see so many instances of this form of education failing all around. There is an enormous taboo surrounding parenting other people's children. This makes me think that a venue where it was expected and encouraged would be nice.

    Of course, mostly parents who already enforce appropriate behavior would patronize such places, so it may not be as effective as I think.
    Occupy Your Brain!

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ursus View post
    I'm torn because I like to think we teach manners and etiquette at home, but at the same time I think a restaurant owner wanting to teach kids manners is kinda fun.

    I remember my sisters and mom teaching me how to use a fork left-handed and cut with a knife. Tear my roll at a nice place, put the butter on my plate and use it from there, etc. Older sisters are good for things like that. "Hey ursus, if you're going on a date you need to take some gum. Offer her a piece too. And the all important one: "You've got to q-tip your ears every day after you shower and especially well before a date. There's always the chance she's going to put her tongue in your ear if things are going well...."

    God bless you, older sisters.
    The baby has the best big sister in RT who is already planning her cultural education

    Quote Originally posted by TerraSapient View post
    I know I have been in a public place or private place open to the public many times and wished someone had the... is it authority? the gumption? I'm not sure... to direct a family to perhaps act more appropriately for the venue.

    We intend to make etiquette and manners an important and regular part of our parenting, but I see so many instances of this form of education failing all around. There is an enormous taboo surrounding parenting other people's children. This makes me think that a venue where it was expected and encouraged would be nice.

    Of course, mostly parents who already enforce appropriate behavior would patronize such places, so it may not be as effective as I think.
    I tell little kids that are running wild to go find their parents. I don't care. Maybe I am just at that "get off my lawn" stage in life. My partner is really awesome at this...he took the baby with him to the college so he could register for classes and processes his financial aid. There was a little boy that was about 3 and he was kinda bugging the baby and scaring her because he was getting close. My partner told him twice to sit down and stop getting in the baby's face. Next time he did it he asked where his mother was and he pointed to her, he took the boy by his hand and walked him over to his mother and told her to watch him. She was going to say something but the woman next to her told her that he was right and that had she been paying attention she would have seen that he was bothering the baby.

    We went out to brunch with a coworker that has a 2.5 year old. He is not well behaved at all. About midway through the meal after his mother was just trying to distract him rather than actually telling him to sit down and eat, my partner did. My coworker was like "oh he is going to cry now!" and my partner said let him. He turned on the fake tears and my partner said "stop it and eat your breakfast". He ate was quite well behaved for the rest of the meal.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  8. #8
    Cyburbian imaplanner's avatar
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    My parents sent me to a cotillion(sp?) class when I was around 12. I learned all kinds of good ettiquette and then promptly proceeded to do the opposite in most social situations. Missing from this discussion is that sometimes it doesn't really matter how much a kid is taught or by whom. Kids will be kids. Part of growing up and being a kid is being a little snot.
    Children in the back seat can cause accidents - and vice versa.

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    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by TerraSapient View post
    This is pretty intriguing to me. I would love a venue outside of the home to take chitlins to for such an experience. We have been working with Sprout (the 12-year old boy) on how to hold a fork and other table manners. No one has bothered to teach him basic manners, like not eating all his food with his hands or chewing with his mouth shut, in his life yet, or to enforce the few things he does know.

    It is kind of annoying that more parents don't take the time to teach manners these days.

    What I got out of the article is that the oh-so-busy parents are soooo overscheduled they can't be bothered to discipline, parent, guide or teach the future captains of industry, so they farm out parenting duties to someone whose time is worth less than their own.

    Here at our school it is harder to parent because most households have two working parents whose wages have stagnated or decreased, yet their consumption has not, yet they continue to send off the child somewhere else to play (requiring mom's taxi).
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian ColoGI's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kjel View post
    I tell little kids that are running wild to go find their parents. I don't care.
    Speaking of poor parenting, not too long ago the DW and I were out to lunch and someone let their two kids use the long aisle to the bathroom-kitchen as a racetrack. For maybe 15 minutes. In an almost full brewpub. When I got out of the restroom and opened the door, I almost clocked one of them and the other almost knocked over a server iwth full tray. I took the oldest one by the hand and made him take me to his dad. The mom got it right away but the dad had to be a tough guy until he stood up and was much shorter than me, they had to leave quickly. As I returnede to our table, quite a few table gave me the thumbs up and someone bought me a beer. Our adjacent table bought us a round after they heard me tell the manager I wouldn't take any of his salary off my tab for doing his job.

    Point being: just because it is hard being a grownup in a complex society doesn't mean you abdicate your responsibility.

    /pet peeve rant
    -------
    Give a man a gun, and he can rob a bank. Give a man a bank, and he can rob the world.

  11. #11
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Speaking of poor parenting, not too long ago the DW and I were out to lunch and someone let their two kids use the long aisle to the bathroom-kitchen as a racetrack. For maybe 15 minutes. In an almost full brewpub. When I got out of the restroom and opened the door, I almost clocked one of them and the other almost knocked over a server iwth full tray. I took the oldest one by the hand and made him take me to his dad. The mom got it right away but the dad had to be a tough guy until he stood up and was much shorter than me, they had to leave quickly. As I returnede to our table, quite a few table gave me the thumbs up and someone bought me a beer. Our adjacent table bought us a round after they heard me tell the manager I wouldn't take any of his salary off my tab for doing his job.

    Point being: just because it is hard being a grownup in a complex society doesn't mean you abdicate your responsibility.

    /pet peeve rant
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  12. #12
    Gunfighter Mastiff's avatar
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    When I see kids running around unattended like that, I teach them dirty words...
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  13. #13
    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff View post
    When I see kids running around unattended like that, I teach them dirty words...
    I like the sign that says unattended children will be given espresso and a puppy

    Seriously though, children learn by example so you have to show/teach them how to be polite, behave in particular situations, etc.
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  14. #14
    Cyburbian TerraSapient's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Speaking of poor parenting, not too long ago the DW and I were out to lunch and someone let their two kids use the long aisle to the bathroom-kitchen as a racetrack. For maybe 15 minutes. In an almost full brewpub. When I got out of the restroom and opened the door, I almost clocked one of them and the other almost knocked over a server iwth full tray. I took the oldest one by the hand and made him take me to his dad. The mom got it right away but the dad had to be a tough guy until he stood up and was much shorter than me, they had to leave quickly. As I returnede to our table, quite a few table gave me the thumbs up and someone bought me a beer. Our adjacent table bought us a round after they heard me tell the manager I wouldn't take any of his salary off my tab for doing his job.

    Point being: just because it is hard being a grownup in a complex society doesn't mean you abdicate your responsibility.

    /pet peeve rant
    Hahaha! That is a pretty excellent example. This more or less where I was going with this discussion, but I was trying not to sound like one of those new parents who has all the answers.
    Occupy Your Brain!

  15. #15
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Mastiff View post
    When I see kids running around unattended like that, I teach them dirty words...
    I told one particularly unsupervised darling...that her mom's cell phone floats if dropped in the toilet.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    I told one particularly unsupervised darling...that her mom's cell phone floats if dropped in the toilet.
    You, sir, are evil. I like it!

    One of the things that brings me great satisfaction is hearing other adults tell me how polite my kids are, for example, at school or a party at a friend's house. It affirms that my wife and I are in fact succeeding as role models. And that the kids are paying attention.

    I do know that my son struggles with using silverware because of his poor fine motor skills.
    On pitching to Stan Musial:
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    Warren Spahn

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    Super Moderator kjel's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by mike gurnee View post
    I told one particularly unsupervised darling...that her mom's cell phone floats if dropped in the toilet.
    Might have to borrow that one...
    "He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me?" Jeremiah 22:16

  18. #18
    Cyburbian Plus Zoning Goddess's avatar
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    My brother and SIL had two kids before I did, and one right after; none of them had any manners whatsoever, well, neither did my SIL. Bro and I were raised with very good manners, I could never get that their kids were such hellions in public. To the point our large family group was asked to leave a restaurant. My kid spent a whole lot of time with my mom and learned his manners, plus to his embarrassment, I sent him to an optional "etiquette" class in 4th grade at his private school. It was him and his best bud and a dozen girls, but I just wanted to make him see that it just wasn't his grandma and me who expected manners.

  19. #19
    Cyburbian dvdneal's avatar
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    How hard is it to teach your kids manners. If their elbow is on the table, poke it with a fork - they learn fast.
    Seriously though, you have a table, you eat dinner, sit down and eat. While you're there you can teach proper (or at least close) table manners. Then when you go to a restaurant the kids know not to run around and if they do, put a stop to it (you might even have to leave) before someone tells theem your cell phone floats.
    I don't pretend to understand Brannigan's Law. I merely enforce it.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    It does not matter what the child knows... It matters what the parent reenforces. We run a strict house and the level of manners is based on their age, not what is required at a 5 star restaurant. However, by the time they are 16, they will be expected to have that level of manners in the appropriate settings.
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  21. #21
    Cyburbian
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    And then they grow up....

    I'm feeling really disappointed in my daughter this morning. She's typically very courteous, but she's also become self centered and doesn't see how she's also becoming inconsiderate.

    She had an early doctor's appointment this morning, and the office is about a 30 minute drive with traffic. She left home 15 minutes before her appointment, and told me that she parked in a way that made it difficult, if not impossible, for another person to get into their car. Because she showed up late, they made her wait for the next opening (GOOD), and she wouldn't use that time to make sure that she found a better place to park.

    She was also very rude to a friend about the friend's etiquette shortcomings, telling her that SOMEBODY had to tell her the truth.

    I don't think that there's anything that I can do; she's convinced herself that her behavior is appropriate. I've been looking for a way to tell her the truth about her behavior.

    Oh, if she were a few years younger...

  22. #22
    Cyburbian ofos's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by kms View post
    And then they grow up....

    I'm feeling really disappointed in my daughter this morning. She's typically very courteous, but she's also become self centered and doesn't see how she's also becoming inconsiderate.

    She had an early doctor's appointment this morning, and the office is about a 30 minute drive with traffic. She left home 15 minutes before her appointment, and told me that she parked in a way that made it difficult, if not impossible, for another person to get into their car. Because she showed up late, they made her wait for the next opening (GOOD), and she wouldn't use that time to make sure that she found a better place to park.

    She was also very rude to a friend about the friend's etiquette shortcomings, telling her that SOMEBODY had to tell her the truth.

    I don't think that there's anything that I can do; she's convinced herself that her behavior is appropriate. I've been looking for a way to tell her the truth about her behavior.

    Oh, if she were a few years younger...
    Oh, the arrogance of youth. It's frustrating but most get over it and eventually become decent folks. Nothing you can do or say will speed that up.
    “Death comes when memories of the past exceed the vision for the future.”

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Rygor's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by ColoGI View post
    Speaking of poor parenting, not too long ago the DW and I were out to lunch and someone let their two kids use the long aisle to the bathroom-kitchen as a racetrack. For maybe 15 minutes. In an almost full brewpub. When I got out of the restroom and opened the door, I almost clocked one of them and the other almost knocked over a server iwth full tray. I took the oldest one by the hand and made him take me to his dad. The mom got it right away but the dad had to be a tough guy until he stood up and was much shorter than me, they had to leave quickly. As I returnede to our table, quite a few table gave me the thumbs up and someone bought me a beer. Our adjacent table bought us a round after they heard me tell the manager I wouldn't take any of his salary off my tab for doing his job.

    Point being: just because it is hard being a grownup in a complex society doesn't mean you abdicate your responsibility.

    /pet peeve rant
    I would have done the same thing. I have little patience for those who do not take responsibility for their own at the expense of others.

    You, sir, are awesome.
    "When life gives you lemons, just say 'No thanks'." - Henry Rollins

  24. #24
    Cyburbian Planit's avatar
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    Thank goodness our good daughter shows up in public and the evil twin shows up at home sometimes, but at least its at home.

    Sge has come to understand I'll embarass her in public if she acts up.
    "Whatever beer I'm drinking, is better than the one I'm not." DMLW
    "Budweiser sells a product they reflectively insist on calling beer." John Oliver

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    Playing the Santa card

    Several times over the last few weeks, I've "been the village" for a frustrated parent by making an out-loud observation involving the "S" name. It's fun, seems to go over well.

    Most recently (days after Christmas), a pre-schooler was a clothing rack away from his caretakers, smiling and hiding just out of visual range. They weren't frantic yet. Playfully, I turned into a wind indicator, swiveling to monitor his moves, adding a sonar <ping>. As his mom went behind the manikins to collect him, I said, wonder if Santa is seeing this.

    Mom perked up, led him over to me using the hood of his coat. "Joshua, did you hear what she said? Listen to this!" With the audience paying rapt attention, I repeated it.

    Happy to help out.

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