Manners Matter: Learning Table Manners

Dear Mary Pat,

My parents always want us to have family dinners together. With my after-school sports schedule, it’s not always possible. When I am there to share a meal with them, I feel like all they do is criticize: “Don’t scrape your teeth,” “Keep your elbows off the table,” “Don’t slurp your milk” and so on. They seem more like drill sergeants. Shouldn’t we just talk about our day instead?


Annoyed Teen

Maplewood, Wisconsin

Dear Annoyed Teen,

Your parents may seem like drill sergeants, but they’re trying to give you a very useful gift. Your table manners are something that you’ll take with you into adulthood. They’re also something that people will definitely notice about you, whether good or bad. How you eat and act at the table will matter when you’re socializing with friends and dating, and they could even factor into whether you get a job.

Maybe your parents are fatigued with having to repeat the lessons that they’ve been trying to teach you. Perhaps now is a good time to start putting these lessons into practice so that you can focus on talking about your day instead.

Good luck,

Mary Pat