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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,<br><br>
This is most likely going to happen again and I need some practical ways to deal with this.<br><br>
Tonight we went to two very dear, older friends home for dinner. The meal took hours to prepare and was a special way for our friends to show their caring. We sit to eat and dd (3) who often doesn't want to stay in her chair for meals as it is announces as I am putting yams (her favorite) on her plate that she doesn't want the food. The tone is rude and she tells me to 'get the food off her plate'. The woman of the couple offers her another choice but she doesn't want it (and says so in the same tone). I lean into her and quietly mention (as the others start a conversation about something else) that she doesn't have to eat the food but that she needs to speak to our friends with kind words. She sits for a while and then a few mins into the meal she wants to get out of the high chair. The man of the couple tells her (in a strong and - my pov - irritated tone) that it is his house and he has rules that everyone needs to sit in their chair until the others are finished. She sat back down for a moment but the approach that he took is not our way.<br><br>
What should the next steps have looked like that would have been a positive way of addressing the entire situation? What wound up happening was that she sat on my lap for a while as I ate, then in the woman friends lap and then went into the living room for a while.<br><br>
I feel embarassed that neither I nor dh could think of a positive way to address the situation.<br><br>
I would appreciate perspectives and example of how to approach this.<br><br>
TIA
 

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I probably would have just pointed out to the host that 3 is awfully young to expect a child to sit at the table while adults are dining (as opposed to eating dinner, which we do at home and is usually fairly child-centered and quick) and that we don't require our children to sit at the table until everyone is finished when we are at home. Then I would have said that I brought some toys along for my dd to play with quietly, and she could do that in the next room now.<br><br>
I think your friend was out of line. Would he have demanded the same of you, had you wanted to leave the table? I think it's ok for people to have rules that children must follow in their homes, but they need to be reasonable based on the child's age.<br><br>
Namaste!
 

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I agree with dharmamama. I've actually encountered this situation with my dad in his home and have handled it that way. I've always just addressed my son, though: "I'm sure it's not very fun for you to sit here while we talk. If you're not hungry, you can go do something else."<br><br>
I always make it a point to ask him (my son) to please play quietly out of respect for our meal and that he should expect to play by himself until the rest of us are finished eating. Oh, and because he's the boy of a zillion questions, I make sure to tell him that I'll let him know when we're finished (so he doesn't ask me over and over :LOL).<br><br>
I've found that addressing my son directly seems to work as a respectful way of letting the other person know that I'm perfectly capable of parenting my son without their help (in a less confrontational manner). It also lets my son know that I'm looking out for him and that his needs are still being respected in this other person's house while serving as a reminder that he should respect our needs, as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
dharmamama and Dragonfly,<br><br>
Thank you for your views and suggestions. I feel that our friend was out of line too and his tone surprised all of us. I think your suggestions are excellent and will use them.<br><br>
Thank you for taking the time mamas!<br><br>
Pioneermama
 

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I could totally see someone saying "Please sit down with us, we are all still eating" to an adult who got up. (I have seen this happen) If that adult refused, they'd be considered rude, and the host would be justifiably irritated. So please don't even bother comparing this to an adult situation, we don't treat kids like adults because they are not.<br><br><br>
Can a three year old be expected to sit? Mine did, we requried it from an eraly age. However, its very hard if they have not been requried to do so at home. Explaining to the host that she is not sitting at home and putting her on your lap seemed like a good compromise. Bringing along some toys is a good idea too.<br><br>
Remember that in this older couples generation a verbal correction of someone else's child was considered well with the bounds of ok behavior. I agree that this has changed, for good or for ill.<br><br>
It might be a good idea in the future to discuss with your child the need to be polite about the food though.
 

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I think the husband's reaction was out of place, but I have a guess about what might have motivated it. This probably all took place subconsciously, but he probably felt that their hospitality was being rejected, and therefore they were being rejected, when your dd refused their food. Now, it doesn't make rational sense to have your feelings hurt by a 3-year-old who doesn't know any better, but there is a lot of human behavior that's not motivated by rational thought. When you told your dd she didn't have to eat, he was further offended and pulled a power move.<br><br>
(ha ha, a few months of therapy and now I think I'm an expert). <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"><br><br>
I have some ideas about what to do with the rudeness, but keep in mind my ds is only 6 months and it's been 8 years since I worked in a preschool, so I'm not really up on how three-year-olds work. But here's my thought, fwiw...<br><br>
When your dd said no to the food, perhaps you could have responded, "no, thankyou." This would model for your dd an appropriate response (since she's probably just learning how to be polite and needs help). It would also have helped your super-sensitive host. Your dd may or may not have repeated the "no, thankyou," but the point would have been made.<br><br>
When she refused the second food, perhaps you could have helped your daughter understand how her actions affect others. I'm guessing 3-year-olds are not superstars when it comes to empathy yet. Maybe you could have said something like "____ and ____ cooked this food to show us they like us. Their feeling might be hurt that you don't want any. Could you say 'I'm not hungry now, but thank you for cooking for me'?" Again, your dd may or may not repeat your suggestion, but perhaps she would learn something.<br><br>
Just an idea- I'm still new to both parenting and gd.<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"> fiddlefern
 
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