I had to giggle when I read the email from the reader who instituted a "rude" family dinner night in an effort to teach her children table manners. Our dinnertime is legendary, but NOT because it is so mannerly.
I have seen one kid make another one laugh a pea out of her nose. I've had to actually say the words, "If you make your sister throw up at the table you are both grounded!" I've witnessed the spitting out of numerous food and drink items because of a perfectly timed laugh-fest.
Our dinnertime is chaotic, hilarious, more fun than it should be, and such a habit that it threatens to spill over in restaurants or when we are with other people, at which point we have to shriek, "We are in public!!" or "We have company!!" This action then warrants an explanation of what may have happened had we been at home or just alone. We have had a blast, but I didn't realize the impact until my then-17 year old told me she made her social plans AROUND our dinnertime.
I've been my daughters' mom their whole lives, and am most amazed at the lack of friction between us. They are now 18 and 16, and are now becoming my best friends because, you know, I have to be their mom first.