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Not the Best Table Manners

By Jodie Lynn

"Eat your spinach with a toothpick!" shouted 13-year-old Nat. "Yeah, right," sighed his Dad. "What's going on?" I asked in a stunned voice. "Not much," said my husband. "I gave the kids an opportunity to show me what they've learned over the years and to check out how they might respond during the holiday meals and parties - or any old time. And, this is what I get!"

Don't lose your cool - enhance children's talents and knowledge of becoming a real person with a learning game. Kids have a tendency to listen and learn when parents or teachers make a game out of it!

Try this fun opposite game. Sit down at the next meal and tell the kids you have some Opposite Rules and watch the fun and valued lessons begin.

WARNING: Be prepared for much silliness -- and a gross show of "mouth food" and comments. With this in mind, serve up nonmessy dishes and have fun!

"Opposite Etiquette"

  1. Never wash your hands before sitting down to eat.
  2. Always talk while another person is talking.
  3. Cough without covering your mouth.
  4. Always take the last piece of bread or roll before asking if someone else would like it.
  5. Never excuse yourself from the table to blow your nose.
  6. Always let others see the contents of food in your mouth while speaking.
  7. Never cut your meat into small pieces -- eat the whole thing right off the fork!
  8. Try not to burp quietly and don't say, "excuse me."
  9. Always tell the cook the meal stunk!
  10. Never eat only one dessert.
  11. At school, family dinner table, holiday parties or dining out, always grab your friend's food and throw it into the air.
  12. Always switch food with the person sitting at your left, right or straight across; then switch back after taking two bites.
  13. Grab your food and run outside - never to even swallow the first bite before you shout, "It's yucky, gross and basically stinks!"

Keep Reading

Are you wondering if this will really work to help curtail rude crude behavior? While there are no guarantees in life (especially with kids) this is a great and fun game if you can stomach your children sharing highly outrageous comments at the table. Of course you know they are just trying to get the "raised eyebrow" response from you - don't you?

Parent Tip: Sometimes when they are trying to gross you out, get gross back. (Did I say that?)

Of course, all of us smart parents know they are really learning the correct way of table manners from every single disgusting example they will be sharing with us.

They know it too - but for now - let them have fun and act a little disgusting (only at home - ya know).

© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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