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to expect that my 8 yr old gs is able to use cutlery

(50 Posts)
milton2 Sat 07-May-11 08:20:41

Sharing a meal with him is really difficult for me as he seems unable to use a knife and fork so just shoves huge pieces of food in his mouth and bites until it becomes managable to swallow...gross..
if I say anything am told " he's only 7 " he's 8 next month.

helshea Mon 13-Jun-11 07:37:16

The last comment Baggy was very well put. Surely what people here are classing as so called good table manners are man made. Many cultures use their fingers to eat, and that is the most natural thing in the world...Although I do admit if I sit near someone who is eating with their mouth wide open and making horrific chomping noises I have to move.. now that is just plain bad mannered grin

janthea Tue 14-Jun-11 14:30:52

My GD who is 2 next month happily uses a spoon and fork at the table. Of course, sometimes fingers are used as well!!

I made a comment on the TV forum about Come Dine with Me. I'm always amazed as how many of the diners have appalling table manners and don't appear to know how to use a knife and fork properly.

absentgrana Tue 14-Jun-11 15:54:14

Of course table manners are man-made, i.e. just a social convention, helshea. So is wearing clothes, not peeing in public, shaking hands, saying please and thank you, not talking with your mouth full, not spitting or swearing at someone who gets in your way, standing in a supermarket queue rather than simply barging to the front and so on and so on. That doesn't mean social conventions should be ignored – they are what oil the wheels of community. Besides, milton2's original post referred to her grandson eating – or golloping – in a way that was very unpleasant for other diners, including her, and that reminds of a dog with a stolen pizza.

helshea Tue 14-Jun-11 20:02:19

Absentgrana, I dont think Milton2 actually said her grandson was as bad as the image you suggest... and after all "he is only 7".

Anne58 Tue 14-Jun-11 20:18:19

I think it may come down to the old saying "A time and a place"

My ex husband and I often took our sons to eat out from quite an early age, and they learnt that certain standards were expected if they were to be allowed to join in.

We all behave differently in certain social situations, and whilst I agree that good manners (table and otherwise) should begin at home, it should be ok to have expectations that relate to the circumstances.

Bluski Tue 11-Dec-12 10:13:01

Totally agree with you. Our grandchildren know they don't take food or drink into the sitting room and to say please and thank you. They still love to come and stay. The 6 yr old always eats his food unless it is something new and he doesn't like it in which case he is allowed to leave it. I think he remembers when I was looking after him as a 2 yr old and he was messing about. I got fed up and tipped his lunch into the bin! He couldn't believe his lunch had been taken away and went to the bin to see where it was. Now I do the same with subsequent grandchildren. At least I know they will eat the next meal.

vampirequeen Tue 11-Dec-12 10:37:55

Our children try desperately to use a knife and fork properly when they're with us but it's so hard for them because they don't use them when they're with their mum. But then having seen mum and stepdad eat I don't think she even realises there is a proper way to eat.

flowerfriend Tue 11-Dec-12 10:52:03

My, now eleven year old, GDs (twins) were a little clumsy with cutlery when they were eight but made the effort chez moi. My biggest problem with them is that they are the fussiest eaters ever and consume nothing approaching their five-a-day. They would be welcome to eat with their fingers, if necessary, if only they ate a healthier spread of food!

whenim64 Tue 11-Dec-12 10:58:23

I always gave my children a variety of implements to use and left it to them. They usually ended up copying the adults. Once it's in front of them, it's their food to eat and play with as they wish, as long as they don't throw it at anyone. They might not get on with it the way we want them to, but they soon learn. When I pick my little grandsons up from school, they often finish the food in their lunch boxes, having run out of time at school dinner time. They know that's their responsibility to get on with their lunch, but they prefer to play. They are well-nourished, and at 4 years old, they have plenty of time to learn about eating together and using increasingly better table manners.

annodomini Tue 11-Dec-12 11:08:53

Mine all have school meals and I assume they are expected to use their cutlery correctly. The 5-year-old has given up eating pasta with his fingers.

harrigran Tue 11-Dec-12 11:48:48

My GC have used cutlery from 15 months and proficient by 18 months, it is a parent's job to teach children the skills they require. Eating with fingers or in front of the television is not an option. Our GC have been taken to restaurants from birth and their behaviour and manners at the table are good.
My pet hate is when mummy asks the children what they would like to eat, I mutter under my breath " you're the adult, tell them what they are having " I have noticed just lately that DIL is making meal and presenting it, should have done it from day 1.

feetlebaum Tue 11-Dec-12 12:19:11

I know that I Was taught from a very early age - I started with a 'pusher' and spoon, I've just remembered. Weren't those sometimes given at Christenings?

FlicketyB Tue 11-Dec-12 12:26:02

I once had to walk out of a cafe once because the manners of the child opposite me were so disgusting. She was about four, she was eating meat, gravy and veg with her fingers, getting food all over the table and then putting her fingers in the sugar bowl and licking them. Her very upmarket mother did nothing to stop her. It made me feel quite ill. That was 45 years ago.

My children and GC have just been given cutlery from the time they came out of the high chair and started sitting at the table with everybody else. They instinctively copied what other people were doing. DGD, aged 5, drew all eyes when we took her out to lunch, not because of her adept use of cultery but because, given a choice, she asked for a salad.

Barrow Tue 11-Dec-12 12:35:41

I can remember being taught to use cutlery at a very early age, although my mother did go a little OTT! I went for a meal at a friends house and was very surprised to find they didn't use fish knives (does anyone else remember them - seem to have gone the way of the Dodo!).

My parents considered good manners essential and my brother and I were always being complimented on our manners. We could both also read and write before we started school.

vampirequeen Tue 11-Dec-12 13:05:04

I hate to see children playing with their food.

Like you, Barrow, we had a range of knives, forks and spoons depending on what we were eating. I seem to be the only person I know who can use a soup spoon properly lol.

Ella46 Tue 11-Dec-12 13:09:16

My dgd is 14months and eats with a spoon pretty well, and her other hand does the cramming in!
At nursery they have to learn to feed themselves or be hungry until someone can help them.

Barrow Tue 11-Dec-12 13:10:46

How often do you see soup spoons these days - also many of my friends were perplexed when they came to me for afternoon tea and were presented with cake forks! Some looked uncertain about what to do with them and some just ignored them and used their fingers.

POGS Tue 11-Dec-12 14:21:50


I am so in tune with you on this one. My DGD was so well behaved , until she went to school. She now eats quickly, huge pieces of food, forgets to close her mouth when she eats and uses her fingers. We were never over insistant on how she ate but we did show by example, that's all gone out the window.

I thought perhaps kids were pinching her food but she assured me this is not the case so I guess her school just doesn't regard it an issue for them to police. What a shame but I am hopeful she will revert back as she gets older, especially as I will tell her boys won't want to kiss her if she makes them feel sick watching her eat. smile

granjura Tue 11-Dec-12 14:31:38

Not the child's fault if not taught or encouraged to eat with cutlery.

Must say I am very pleased with daughter and OH who are very diligent in this matter and insist on use of cutlery properly (within reason GD is only 3)- mouth closed, etc. They are a pleasure to take to restaurants.

Nelliemoser Tue 11-Dec-12 15:26:43

When my DD was three we used have lunch in town every couple of weeks and she would sit at the table with her knife and fork eating her beans on cut up toast very competently. The old ladies nearby were very impressed.

No you are not being unreasonable what you can do about it I do not know. Do a lot of kids nowdays just get fed finger food?

My children were always very good eaters with almost no food dislikes at all. I am sure enjoying their food helped. Also it was very rare indeed for us not to sit at the table to eat a meal. Once they can handle a spoon a knife and fork soon follow if the see adults using them.

Nelliemoser Tue 11-Dec-12 15:31:45

harrigran I agree fully about not giving them lots of food choices, unless you know its something they really hate.

harrigran Tue 11-Dec-12 19:16:25

Yes Barrow we had all the different types of cutlery, I was taught to eat soup correctly from a soup spoon and fish knives and forks were used.
I had a silver fork and pusher as a christening gift.

vampirequeen Tue 11-Dec-12 21:25:09

I still use a cake fork. It's much easier than trying to eat cake with your fingers especially gooey ones.

Wheniwasyourage Wed 12-Dec-12 22:25:45

feetlebaum, thank you! I had forgotten about having a spoon and pusher (we always said it that way round) until you mentioned it, although on reflection it's probably my younger sister whom I can remember actually using them. As I remember it, they were quite an efficient way for a small child to learn to use a spoon effectively. Wonder why they faded out?