Kids Need to Use Their Table Manners

Dear Mrs. McVeigh,
My daughter has been invited to go on a trip with a friend’s family. How much money should we send with her? Do I give the mom money for her meals, or at least offer?

Dear L.E.,
There is nothing wrong with asking the parents outright how much money to send with your daughter. I went on a trip as a teenager with a friend of mine, and I was uncomfortable the first few meals because I felt like I needed to offer to pay each time. Finally my friend’s father told me not to worry about it, and he would let me know if I needed to pay for anything. If your daughter knows the expectation from the start of the trip, she will be comfortable.

Dear Mrs. McVeigh,
My husband and I have always stressed good manners in our household, especially at mealtime. My daughter knows how to act at the table, but continues to refuse to use her table manners. I feel like I am such a nag all during dinner, and it is becoming very unpleasant to eat together as a family. Any suggestions?

Dear Anonymous,
I would talk to her before you sit down to eat, and tell her you expect to use the manners that she has been taught. Ask her if she is unclear about any part of what it means to use good manners at the table. Then tell her that if she chooses not to use them, she will be asked to bring her plate to the sink – even if she is not finished eating - and will go up to her room for the rest of the night. Make sure you follow through with this. Do this for every meal that she eats. She will quickly miss eating, and will decide to use her best manners.