This is kind of a cross between a talk about it Tuesday and thoughts on a Thursday.
I was just wondering what the current thinking is about (especially kids’) politeness and serving size. Several times I have had the opportunity to serve cupcakes/cookies/other dessert and then had a request for more. We were always taught to eat what we got and be thankful. If something was offered to us, then to accept it if we still had belly room for it (and everyone else had been served). My polite denials were met with somewhat loud disbelieving grumbles that they weren’t allowed to gorge on 3 or 4 cupcakes. Is this the new standard? Is cupcake the new ‘all you can eat’? This would also be about an hour presumably before the kids would eat a regular dinner. I don’t believe in spoiling someone else’s kids’ dinner. Not only was it grumbled it was ‘can you BELIEVE she said no?’ out loud. With a rolled eye look. With me in the room. Repeatedly.
Now, I did have a reason for this (besides not spoiling their dinners, and not believing they really needed more than one). I was saving the rest of them for another event the next day. One these kids would also be attending, so they would get a 2nd shot at them. I let them know this when I politely declined, but still got the ‘backtalk’.
Was I out of line in saying no? Is the cupcake ‘too small’ of a size for a kid? I know my husband can eat 2 or 3, but he rarely does, and definitely not in public or in someone else’s house. Is a treat a free-for-all or do the same courtesies still apply as when we grew up? I will freely admit that the one parent there did say something to her own kids, but there were some without parents there. I know those kids are pretty highly restricted on ‘extras’. I was trying to be the good guy for the absent parent. Any suggestions for if this happens again? My kids will be mixing with the general public before long, maybe having kids at a birthday party one of these days. Do I really want kids high on 3 pieces of cake in my living room? It’s obviously not my place (although if it was the 80’s I’d have told them ‘what for’ like a good country mama) — to suggest that they are having dinner soon, etc. except for my own kids–who are always warned about manners and corrected ON THE SPOT if an issue arises. Has this happened to you? What would you do about it? Also, would you call them on their rudeness? If so, how would you do it?
Let me add that I do love all of these kids, I don’t love the rudeness, their mom is my friend and if she came across this one day, I’d hope she saw what I saw in the situation, maybe not, but I hope so. This is my blog, my ‘safe space’ for getting feedback from the world, I’m not complaining, just hoping to see what everyone out there (esp. those lovely moms of older kids that read my blog!!!) have to say. I am deliberately leaving out dates, names and anything else identifying. This could have been a year ago, it could have been last week. It just crossed my mind as I was sneaking a second cookie out of the container today: what are the ‘new’ limits or are there any? Do the rules apply to adults, too, or is it a societal norm we place only on kids? These are not ‘hungry’ kids by any means, for the record… I want to be a kind and gracious host, but I don’t want to be stepped on or thought of as stingy, either. I definitely do not want to be talked to that way in my own house again, either. (coming back to edit that these are not 3 year olds who lack restraint or the ability to censure their thoughts).
I am constantly amazed by how rude children are these days. I let my son know that if I ever heard of him backtalking an adult (including me – that was the only time he was ever spanked!), there would be severe consequences. My granddaughter tried it with me and I told her that if she couldn’t behave she wasn’t welcome in my house. She is now very polite (at least around me). I’m afraid that I come across as Granny Nasty sometimes (I had one of those too), but she’s learning from me what her own parents are too lazy to teach her. That may be part of the problem. Young parents either don’t know, don’t care, or are too lazy or busy to teach their kids anything about being around other people.
My own son has been experimenting with swear words. I think that on occasion they’re appropriate – but you have to use the right ones so as to not offend. There’s been quite a bit of correcting lately but he also understands that the penalty of doing things the wrong way is not having friends and not being invited to go anywhere.
If I had been in your shoes, I’d have stood firm. Offered to call his/her parents to come and get them if they cannot behave in a polite manner. I’ve done that before and it works wonders.
Your house, your rules.
The eyeroll and rudeness? I would have addressed it, but working with hundreds of kids over the last eight years has given me some confidence. I might have said something like, “You’re right. It was nice of me to give you a cupcake. You’re welcome!”
I’d find a moment later to take the child aside and tell him or her that I found his or her behavior appalling and that if they were going to act that way, next time I wouldn’t bother with cupcakes.
And I taught my own children to say thank you. Not everyone bothers, sadly. I can see one of them asking for a second cupcake, but upon being told no, they would have said, “okay” and that would have been it.
I’m with Sayre.. rudeness would not be tolerated. And telling people who cross that line that they ARE crossing a line isn’t wrong.
No, you weren’t out of line. I am perfectly happy being the bad guy in such situations, and would have certainly said something to the child about their behavior. Perhaps that’s the BD teacher in me coming out. We have a couple of kids who come to our house regularly to play with our kids. I have never once complained about their behavior to their parents (except the one time when it was a safety issue – the kid was riding his bike home, wasn’t looking for cars, and nearly got creamed by one of the construction vehicles in the neighborhood. Thank heavens the driver was watching. I was calling out “watch for cars!!!” and his answer was “I can’t watch for cars when I ride my bike.” Eek! – so not a behavior problem, exactly, but certainly something I had to report), but when they are here, they are subject to the same rules as my kids. And if they can’t do it, they leave. They don’t like that. There is one little girl in particular, who is an only child and her attitude reflects it. She is learning that it won’t fly here. I’m not sure if she tells her mom that I’m mean, but she keeps coming over and keeps inviting Lauren there, so it can’t be that bad. You are an adult and you are not out of place to say something to those children.
And if you find this is a common problem with treats, nip some of it in the bud right away by saying “this is it.” If you’d like, you can add “if you are still hungry when you are done, please help yourself to as many carrot sticks/cheese/ fruit (whatever you have) that you’d like.”