I have a SD10 and SS8. Neither have been taught manners or how to behave in general. I am aware that it is not my role to fix any of this. At the moment, I have a couple of issues that I am struggling to deal with. Neither of these children have been taught how to use cutlery. My SO sat back in his chair at the table one of the first times we ate together, when I was showing SS how to hold the cutlery and then how to use it. SO was devastated because he realsied that he had never taught the kids how to use cutlery. Before the split, the BM would feed the kids before he got home, and he would be left to get himself something, so they never sat at the table together.
Anyway, there has been some - mostly- consistant standards set here and SS is trying and has improved in this area but is still way behind skills wise. However, SD eats like a pig. Although she sometimes tries to use her cutlery, she still uses her hands, eats with her mouth open, drops food all over the place, has her face inches from the plate throwing food in the general direction of her mouth, takes any opportunity to pretend to laugh so that she can spit food across the table, doesn't chew properly so nearly chokes, and throws her head back and gulps drink and sometimes food, which, of course often ends with her almost choking.
I. Can't. Stand. It.
I come from an Italian family and eating together is an important family thing, so my children have sat at the table from months old and were introduced to manners - and cutlery- from the word go. (They are all young adults now.) I looked up the developmental milestones to make sure that my kids weren't ahead of the curve, and that I'm not being Judgy McJudgeface and confirmed that these kids should be able to eat with reasonable decorum and skill by now. Also, I don't expect perfection.
I don't know what to do. I tried the supportive coach approach, the 'you'll want to know how to do this when you go to school camp', the 'ignore', and the 'let's all get dressed up fancy, set the table like we are at a restuarant and pretend we are all out on a date'. Let's just say that we are NOT all going out on a date anytime soon. Their dad is having to learn how to parent having been shunted to the side most of their life (but that's a story for another day)
He is doing his best, I know. They're not my kids, I know.
My Problem (in this circumstance - there are others) is that I can't be around SD when she eats like that. Last night, she had her face in the plate, along with her hair, throwing spaghetti in her mouth; or close to. There was mess all around her plate, not a little bit - a lot. I took my plate and went to my bedroom to eat rather than stay at the table with her, which hurt my SO. Afterwards when he and I talked, I apologised for bailing on him, and he told me that he understood, and that he had spoken to her again about the way she eats. Tonight was marginally better. a very tiny margin. I had to keep my eyes averted from her general direction. Between her table manners, and her constant niggling of SS, I have a raging heartburn.
What else can I do?