Thursday 8 August 2013

Manners - Do they matter?

I have always brought the girls up to say please and thank you and be as polite as they can possibly be. As a family we very rarely eat out because we just simply can not afford it; to be honest, it grieves me that one meal out its normally the equivalent of half a months food shopping. However on Sunday evening we decided to have a little treat out to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We headed to our local branch of a well known pizza chain.

Lottie enjoying some pizza

We were pleasantly surprised at how few people were in the restaurant, but saying that we had arrived at 6pm so maybe that was one of the reasons why.

We were seen to very quickly and shown to our table; we sat down and started looking at the menu and discussed what we were going to have. We always give Ruby a choice as to what she would like to eat when we go out for dinner; this time she decided on dough balls, then pasta, followed by chocolate fudge cake. Do you let your children pick their own food? Phil and I feel it's good for Ruby to have choices; it allows her to have some independence too.

Whilst waiting for our meal, a family situated next to us who had two boys who I would guess to at least 8 and 10 years old, had just had their food brought to the table; both boys were incredibly restless and the parents just seemed so ignorant of the fact that their children were misbehaving, I am not just talking about being a little bit excited but they had appalling table manners. They did not stay seated at the table, instead going to the toilet several times, playing games and chasing one another around the table, they were also climbing over the furniture, standing on it and generally being very rude in my opinion.

It got me thinking, do manners really matter? I believe they certainly do, but what has changed in the last 10, 20 or even 30 years? Some children appear to be parenting their parents and calling all the shots, whereas I personally feel its time to go back to old fashioned basic manners, but how do we do this? I believe by leading by example is the key; if children witness good behaviour and know what is expected of them then they learn manners and boundaries that won't just help them but also what they learn will be passes on to their own families.

In preparing for this article, I have spoken the pizza chain's head office about their policy on seating families and couples; they inform me that they do not have a policy in place to discriminate against any particular group, however from my own experience, families were placed in a completely different part of the restaurant to couples, should this be the case? Personally I don't agree with this, why should my family be labelled and made to sit next to family who's children appear to be showing very little manners, surely we deserve a relaxed enjoyable meal out, as for us going for a meal is a very rare and special treat. I would love to know your thoughts on this, do manners really matter? What has changed in recent years and would you be happy to be profiled because of badly behaved families and segregated from the rest of the diners?


  1. Lovely website! I am loving it!! Will come back again. I am bookmarking your feeds also

  2. Meaners do matter, but in a world where kids are more likely to learn swear words than manners something is going vary wrong.

    but the way if your looking for a cheap way to eat out this offer is good for the summer hols

  3. Oooh it's a tricky one. For the most part my kids are really well behaved in restaurants, and yes, I do think kids should learn manners, otherwise they'll never have any respect for others when they're older.
    However, I don't object to being put in a family section, overt or otherwise, because children - even well-mannered ones - are often distracting to others, and I remember a time when I would have preferred not to be seated near children.

  4. Honestly, I am at a loss as to what to write. Yes, manners do matter. A lot. Yes there is a big problem with kids not respecting their elders and with parents not wanting to parent, and kids should learn manners. Have to say though, I personally think my kids are well behaved. But I guess your perspective changes with every year your children grow, and I guess it depends on if you have boys or girls.
    Having said all that, and taking into account I have two boys, and you are talking about a half empty restaurant, then yes, my kids will go to the toilets a few times, if there are a few people around they will run around the table, and if it doesn't bother anyone, my four years old likes to check each and every chair. I have never thought any of those things as "bad manners" just as - kids. So I understand a family zone, and honestly I welcome it. When I go out as a couple I don't want to sit next to any child. When we go out as a family, I don't want to sit next to couples who find my kids loud and annoying.

  5. Hi Kimberley! My first time visiting - great blog :)
    I think manners are really important... I'm a secondary school teacher and I'm always reminding the pupils about their manners. One colleague who came to observe a lesson I taught specifically commented on how old fashioned I was!
    We are teaching our boys to sit at the table until their meal is over. When we go to restaurants I try to remember how I felt before I had kids! Having said that, I don't think restaurants are always very 'family friendly' in the UK and this can put a lot of families off giving their children the chance to experience restaurants and learn the appropriate manners.
    Looking forward to reading more.