dear abby 10-11
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“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#1 Oct 11, 2013
DEAR ABBY: I have acquired two teenage stepsons. They are good young men, mature, responsible, active in community service and good in school and sports.

My challenge is their table manners. They were never taught any! They use their utensils like shop tools, lifting food using fork and knife together to transfer huge bites from plate to mouth. They use a bread knife to cut a pancake as if it were a tough steak. They slouch over the table to get their faces as near the plate as possible, while leaning on the table with one or both elbows. They don't know where to place cutlery when setting the table, and have their napkins in their lap only if a restaurant server discreetly places it there.

Their mother shows no concern about their uncouth manners. I'm worried that when they eventually go out into the world, they'll be perceived as having no class when they are actually nice young men. Their ignorance of table manners could cost them relationships, jobs and promotions. What to do?-- SAN ANTONIO STEPDAD

DEAR STEPDAD: Your wife may have felt she was teaching her sons more important lessons than table manners; things like character and responsibility. However, you have a point. People do make negative judgments about people who have poor table manners -- and it could be detrimental to them in the future.

That's why you should discuss this with their mother, if you haven't already, and enlist her help in talking to the boys in a nonconfrontational way and explaining your concern. In the interest of your relationship with them, this must not seem like you are critical of them, nor should it turn into an adversarial situation or it could have a negative impact on your marriage. If it is to succeed, there must be cooperation from everyone.

DEAR ABBY: I am almost 30, and when we have family get-togethers several times a year, it seems like they make a point to leave me out of pictures. My mom and sister lost quite a bit of weight recently, and my brothers and cousin are attractive people. It seems like they're trying to keep the "fat one" out of the photo, and it hurts my feelings.

Recently, a cousin came into town and made copies of two excellent pictures of my mom and sister and posted them online. Again, I was not included. What should I do? I am depressive anyway, and these obvious oversights are upsetting me.-- LEFT OUT IN TENNESSEE

DEAR LEFT OUT: Talk with your mother and sister to confirm if what you suspect is happening is true. It's possible your mother and sister are so proud of their weight loss they want to show it off.(There are ways to pose family members in photographs so their weight isn't apparent.) As to the visiting cousin, there may be such a marked change in their appearance that he/she thought it was worth posting on the Internet.

A problem with depression is that quietly brooding solves nothing, and it often causes people to overeat. Because your depression is chronic, please consider discussing it with your health care provider because interventions are available.

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#2 Oct 11, 2013
1. Good luck with that. This requires the intervention of a girlfriend they want to impress. The boat has ailed for parental coaching, but don't give up trying. I would not involve your wife because she will see as criticism of her parenting skills. BTW, what are her table manner like?

2.Sincere :good luck with that.

“Where is Tonka?”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#3 Oct 11, 2013
1 I thought men learned table manners when their wives taught them?

2 Time to call the Whaaaaaaaaabulance!

I bet if they did take your picture and post it online, you would be crying how they are making a point to show how fat you are! You just want to wallow in self pity. If you want your pictures on the internet so bad, take them yourself and post them.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Brooklyn, NY

#4 Oct 11, 2013
2- Ever think that maybe it isn't always about you? Skinny? Now go have a doughnut and feel better.

Since: Aug 08

Location hidden

#5 Oct 11, 2013
LW1: I would say something to their mom and you two can work together on it.

Not so sure about using a delicate hand tho. They aren't little boys. My folks were pretty frank … don’t eating like a pig … don’t chew with your mouth open … take your hat off when at the table ... stuff like that We all turned out fine.

LW2: In addition to depression, you also suffer from delusions.

“The two baby belly, please!”

Since: Sep 09

Evanston IL

#6 Oct 11, 2013
LW1: You're going to have to start saying something. I once believed that peer pressure would take care of this kind of thing, but when the girls eat like this too (I've seen it at a wedding) that's not going to work.

But start with baby steps, like keeping the elbows off the table. Just doing that will change how they have to eat and the shoveling should be lessened.

I must say that I don't understand how the mother let it get this bad. We're currently working with the girls on double-dipping. Nunu is particularly bad about this, but we keep on her. My sister told us a story about her and her boss taking a candidate on a lunch interview. The guy double-dipped and the boss wouldn't hire him even though he was a good fit otherwise.

This sh!t matters and the LW needs to get that through to his new family.

LW2: They're excited and you're jealous. I also expect that you don't just jump in front of the camera, so that there aren't many pictures of you for your family to share might be partially your fault.

“Checks and Balances”

Since: Apr 13

Location hidden

#7 Oct 11, 2013
LW1 - Why do you need to talk to their mother about this? I assume that they eat at the table with you and your husband (their father, who is abdicating his responsibilities here). You both need to enforce that proper table manners are expected at your table and lead by example.

LW2 - You're depressive? What is that supposed to mean? Maybe if you learn to speak properly and don't hide when the camera comes out, you will be in more pictures. Time to stop blaming everyone else for your state of mind.

On a side note, I know that depression is very serious, but if you find a counselor to work with and find an exercise plan that works for you, you might not place so much weight (no pun intended) on perceived slights.

Since: Jun 09

Saint Petersburg, FL

#8 Oct 11, 2013
LW1: I don't know why people don't realize that table manners need to be taught from a VERY young age (I started teaching my daughter to chew with her mouth closed as soon as she could start to feed herself). I cringe when I see people chewing with their mouth open or holding their utensils like cavemen (like the guy that sits behind me at work - and you should HEAR the noises he makes!). It's an on-going effort. My kid is 10 and I STILL have to remind her to put her napkin on her lap and stuff like that. But I know when she becomes an adult, she'll remember my 18 years of nagging!!!

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#9 Oct 11, 2013
ScarletandOlive wrote:
LW1 - Why do you need to talk to their mother about thisi? I assume that they eat at the table with you and your husband (.
Lw is the step FATHER.

“Checks and Balances”

Since: Apr 13

Location hidden

#10 Oct 11, 2013
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>Lw is the step FATHER.
Reading fail on my part!:)

He should be setting the example for them, plus it wouldn't hurt for him to have some one-on-one talks with them about how men should act in both professional and social settings.
boundary painter

Waco, TX

#11 Oct 11, 2013
LW1 has the nerve to give my city a bad name with such a trivial letter? How dare he.
And did LW2 talk to these ladies about it or does LW2 want to give the Volunteer state a bad name?

Since: Mar 09

Hollywood, FL

#12 Oct 11, 2013
ScarletandOlive wrote:
<quoted text>
Reading fail on my part!:)
He should be setting the example for them, plus it wouldn't hurt for him to have some one-on-one talks with them about how men should act in both professional and social settings.
I thought the LW was a woman until I got to the signature, too.

I vividly remember being taught table manners; how to hold silverware, elbows off the table, napkin in the lap, chew with mouth closed, don't talk while chewing, etc.

My parents took me out to restaurants a lot too so it's ingrained in me to line up my fork and knife when I'm finished eating. I do it at home too without even thinking about it.

Since: Jun 09

Saint Petersburg, FL

#13 Oct 11, 2013
j_m_w wrote:
<quoted text>
I thought the LW was a woman until I got to the signature, too.
I vividly remember being taught table manners; how to hold silverware, elbows off the table, napkin in the lap, chew with mouth closed, don't talk while chewing, etc.
My parents took me out to restaurants a lot too so it's ingrained in me to line up my fork and knife when I'm finished eating. I do it at home too without even thinking about it.
Our game when I was growing up was, if we forgot to put our napkin on our lap, we had to go in the living room and count to 100 out loud before we could eat. We loved to catch each other, especially if we caught mom or dad!

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#14 Oct 11, 2013
ScarletandOlive wrote:
<quoted text>
Reading fail on my part!:)
He should be setting the example for them, plus it wouldn't hurt for him to have some one-on-one talks with them about how men should act in both professional and social settings.
Sure, but it sounds like he's a new step-parent, so in that light, I think its wise to consult mom so as to not step on her toes.

“Checks and Balances”

Since: Apr 13

Location hidden

#15 Oct 11, 2013
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>Sure, but it sounds like he's a new step-parent, so in that light, I think its wise to consult mom so as to not step on her toes.
Any minors coming into my house are (nicely) told that they are expected to use proper table manners and follow the rules of the house. Families where a step-parent is not respected or not allowed to make rules will hurt the children and the adults' relationship on the long run.

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#16 Oct 11, 2013
ScarletandOlive wrote:
<quoted text>
Any minors coming into my house are (nicely) told that they are expected to use proper table manners and follow the rules of the house. Families where a step-parent is not respected or not allowed to make rules will hurt the children and the adults' relationship on the long run.
Any minor coming into my house, I expect their parents to handle them. I'm not comfortable dealing eith other people's children. If I were a step parent o f small children, I would slowly grow into a parent role and eventually be as comfortable with them as if they were my bio kids.

Teens? You're not their parent. You never will be. They might like/love and respect you, but you will always be mom's husband. At least that's my opinion. As such, I would not start correcting them or throwing my authority around without talking to mom first.

Picturing myself as the teen, I can't imagine I'd be too receptive of mom's husband tryin to tell me how to act.
cheluzal

Plant City, FL

#17 Oct 11, 2013
Mister Tonka wrote:
<quoted text>Any minor coming into my house, I expect their parents to handle them. I'm not comfortable dealing eith other people's children. If I were a step parent o f small children, I would slowly grow into a parent role and eventually be as comfortable with them as if they were my bio kids.
Teens? You're not their parent. You never will be. They might like/love and respect you, but you will always be mom's husband. At least that's my opinion. As such, I would not start correcting them or throwing my authority around without talking to mom first.
Picturing myself as the teen, I can't imagine I'd be too receptive of mom's husband tryin to tell me how to act.
Screw that.
You ARE another parent they have acquired and you and the souse must be on the same page, helping to raise these kids under your roof.

I didn't like Abby's snark of teaching them something else like responsibility...I think they aren't mutually exclusive. If she were teaching them responsibility an stuff, they would have basic etiquette.

And servers place napkins on people's laps????

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#18 Oct 11, 2013
cheluzal wrote:
<quoted text>
Screw that.
You ARE another parent they have acquired and you and the souse must be on the same page, helping to raise these kids under your roof.
I didn't like Abby's snark of teaching them something else like responsibility...I think they aren't mutually exclusive. If she were teaching them responsibility an stuff, they would have basic etiquette.
And servers place napkins on people's laps????
If you come in contact with a kid you have a responsibility to model good behavior. There are ways to prompt table manners that does not embarrass the kid nor implicitly criticize a parent.

The only places where the servers deal with the napkins are very high end restaurants. I have had them refolded and placed on the table when I went to the ladies room. I have had one unfolded and handed to me for me to put on my lap a couple of times. Not often. I don't go to restaurants like that that often

“Not a real reg”

Since: Jan 13

Location hidden

#19 Oct 11, 2013
PEllen wrote:
<quoted text>
If you come in contact with a kid you have a responsibility to model good behavior. There are ways to prompt table manners that does not embarrass the kid nor implicitly criticize a parent.
The only places where the servers deal with the napkins are very high end restaurants. I have had them refolded and placed on the table when I went to the ladies room. I have had one unfolded and handed to me for me to put on my lap a couple of times. Not often. I don't go to restaurants like that that often
At a restaurant in Newport Beach many years ago, it was not only a napkin on the chair but a cushion under my feet. I almost kicked him I was so startled. and if you requested a doggie bag it would be in your car when the valet brought it to the door. take note, Burger King....

“I Am Mine”

Since: Dec 08

Location hidden

#20 Oct 11, 2013
cheluzal wrote:
you and the souse must be on the same page,
And consulting with her on matters regarding the kids somehow ruins that effort?
cheluzal wrote:
If she were teaching them responsibility an stuff, they would have basic etiquette.
What do you consider to be basic etiquette? I hear etiquette (at least as it pertains to dinner table behavior), and I think of place settings and formality. I don't see how that is in any way related to responsibility.

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