Tuesday, October 7, 2014

In Support of the Family Dinner

I'm sure you've all read about the various positive effects of sitting down to dinner as a family, right? Smarter kids! Better-behaved kids! Non-stoned kids!

Seriously. I heard a radio commercial awhile ago where they got some college student to talk about how sitting down to eat with his family when he was younger meant that he didn't drink as much as his fellow students.

Sure, kid.


I myself am a big advocate of sitting down as a family, but for one simple reason: It's the only way to keep my sons from behaving like complete beasts.

On a normal night, all three adults and the two children sit down around 6 p.m. and eat dinner. Mostly the adults talk, with many interruptions by loquacious Cubby and occasional random and semi-intelligible comments from Charlie. The adults eat. The children eat. I do my fair share of nagging, but it's much, much less than when I am forced to eat with the children by myself.

God help me.

On the nights when the MiL has a meeting or whatever and A. has night court, the children sit down with me and proceed to engage in their own form of dinner conversation. This is never very sophisticated. Tonight's conversation included the endless repetition of the "button" game, during which one child says "Daddy button" or "Mommy button" or whoever button and the other one repeats it and laughs hysterically.

I don't know either.

They bubble their milk. They menace with forks. They blow tunes into their penne pasta. In short, they behave abominably.

They do not do this when other adults are present, so obviously I am not the civilizing influence here. There must be more than one adult at the table; I suppose because then they have an example of how a rational, polite person behaves while eating and interacting with other people.

And this is why I will always, always champion the family dinner, as long as A. is around to eat with us. Otherwise, I may as well throw all the food into a trough and let the children dive in.


Daisy said...

Family dinner; we do our best. Keep it up as much as you can! Those boys will grow up to be lovely young men.

Anonymous said...

There are certain battles worth fighting, and table manners with the ruffians at breakfast and lunch shouldn't be a concern. And when it is just you and the little boys for dinner, I think they look at it as lunch manners rule.
At least you know they CAN behave. That's a huge start.

Don't worry about it. They are great little dudes.


tu mere said...

Awesome visuals. Can't imagine they would behave any other way since they outnumber you.

The verbal barbs as they get older is even better, even with adults present, which turn into ugly encounters, ending in being either silenced or banned. Bet you can remember those, or may be you've just chosen to forget all the fun table times from your past.

FinnyKnits said...

You know this, but they'd love the trough idea.