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When to step in?

Reb86's picture

As a step parent, when is the time to step in regarding behavior, teaching manners, rules, etc? I guess what I am really asking about is teaching manners. When do I start making this a lesson we are going to work on with my 6yr SD? Why haven't I already? Part of me feels like it's not my place. Part of me thinks she's still young and there's time to just be a kid and goofy and gross. Let's face it, kids are gross! Part of me thinks it won't take because my SO can be pretty gross himself. 

im not talking about saying please and thank you but more specifically eating. There's smacking and chomping and chugging and slurping and open mouth and burping and honestly it just turns my stomach. Please know that my SO is not gross in public so there is a difference to him in being extremely comfortable at home with us and being at a restaurant. He is not the one slurping and chomping etc either. His grossness at home amounts go belching loudly. My SD knows no difference public or at home and is the gross eater. 

i may have been raised by the nose welll mannered Man in America as I can't recall a single time I have ever heard my father belch. He excuse himself to the restroom to blow his nose whether eating or not. Perhaps I am hypersensitive to bad manners because of how I was raised. 

Regardless I do know at some point she has to be taught. I remember being at a party once and a grown woman was smacking open mouthed every bite of her hors d'oeuvres and I was floored. Appalled even. Haha. How could someone make it to adulthood and not no better?  Am i a manners snob? I literally have gotten to the point where I can't help but roll my eyes when this kids burps and I'm grossed out when we eat. 


ESMOD's picture

Your SD is young.. so some inability to eat neatly and properly would not be abnormal.  

The fact that her dad doesn't model the most proper manners at home isn't helping.. and he apparently doesn't have a problem.

This is how you should deal with it IMHO... you should not be the lesson master here.. he should do it.. and should be more on alert for it... you can do this with him.


Honey... I'm worried that SD will be embarassed when she is with other people.. and doesn't know proper table manners.  I am worried that she could be bullied or excluded beause of it.  I know at home you are more relaxed.. belching.. but I think we should really try to model better behavior for her and you can help her learn  how to eat so that she won't be embarassed in front of others.

Then.. you let him handle it.. because it's his kid.. in the end.. you can choose to eat by yourself.. and if he asks.. you can say that you have high sensitivity to eating sounds.. and since he doesn't care enough to help his child with her manners.. that's how it will be.

I recall as very young kids ages.. we didn't eat with adults until we were more able to eat at a regular dining table.. maybe until she gets more practiced.. she can eat her dinner in the kitchen with dad.

alwayslast1978's picture

It is hard because your husband doesnt care.  My wifes son is 9 and still an annoying clingy littlr 5 year old hallf the time but she doesnt care so it never changes   I hate being a step parent

Lillywy00's picture

 I hate being a step parent

I feel ya

I never want to live with no-home-training skids who originate from Disneyland dads with c*ntty ex wives ever again. 

Lillywy00's picture

I am the same way. I was raised with manners, etiquette, and respect for positive elders.

This generation of skids is just ..... very different and not in a good way

My former skids were too old and a lost cause bc their Disneyland dad and conniving jealous petty mother would just undo any effort I put in to help them get up to par whilst battling me every step of the way like "oh my poor kids deserve to schlep around our house every weekend, demanding numerous cash grabs, whilst contributing nothing because they worked sooo hard at school making d's and F's" 

They too ate like wolves who hadn't had a meal in weeks. Crumbs everywhere, dirty dishes left in the sink, smacking and inhaling food like it was their last supper. 

I never wanted to eat with them at the same table especially not during COVID   I knew that trying to correct them this late in the game would be a waste of my energy especially if he wasn't going to back me up. Rather than waste energy trying to change them I simply controlled what I could ... my choice to eat with them or not. I usually declined. 

If their Disneyland dad was okay with them having no home-training then he by default was okay with me avoiding intimate family meals with them. 

*I will say his daughter tried to be more feminine and eat like she had some manners but Disneyland dad and his son did not gaf so I tried to avoid meals with the repeat offenders 

BethAnne's picture

In this particular circumstance I would tell your SO that it is time to start teaching her some table manners and ask him to take the lead.

Harry's picture

You teaching manners,  as soon as you can.  When they start talking, you remind them to say please.  Hello, good by.  As they get older you teach more age appropriate things.   You dint want to be in a nice restaurant and SK are eating with there hands.  Or running around causing other people problems.  Thane a time iE restaurant, where good manners are used.