12 Comments

  1. Ames

    I have noticed that when my nose is stopped up, my allergies are flaring, I sometimes eat with my mouth open. Otherwise, I can’t breathe :)
    Just a thought.

    I’m not sure about the sounds, tho.

  2. Aloicious

    My roommate is a major offender of eating loudly. He is 27 years old and I cannot eat in the same room as him. On a side note, neither can any of our female friends, and he has been single the entire time I have known him. It is not a case of allergies, although I understand exactly what you are talking about… When that happens to me, I usually explain to the folks around me that I have allergies or a cold, apologize for my impending rudeness, and cover my mouth with a napkin while I chew, as quietly as possible. I am very sensitive to loud eaters.

    It is a kindness to your child to teach him or her proper table manners. God forbid, she or he go to a business meeting over a meal, and he or she eat like that! It is advantageous to her, as well the people around her (including yourself), and truly a major favor to her for you to help curb this offensive habit now.

  3. Vanna Keiler

    At 14 years, young adults are very sensitive and self-conscious about themselves as they adjust their behavior to adulthood, and helping your child out with basic table manner advice and instruction would be doing her a kindness, especially when, as EPI staff pointed out, she could be ridiculed at school. She may not be aware of what she is doing or how she sounds, preoccupied in devouring a delicious meal. Also, when we eat alone, sometimes we may eat quite differently from how we would eat in polite society, and a few pointers could go a long way. For example, a gentle “Honey, in public we don’t eat with our mouths open. Imagine how that looks to the person opposite you. Also, we try to minimize sounds we make when we are eating.” and then move on to other topics to minimize any embarrassment (if the child looks mortified).

  4. Rusty Shackleford

    With adolescent children, it may also be an ENT issue. You may want to take your child to the Dr to rule out any medical issues.

  5. Jerry

    Is this a serious question? Have we fallen so far that parents are really questioning whether it is appropriate to teach their children how to behave politely?

  6. Karen

    Jerry, I think the parent was seeking advice as to HOW to bring up the matter with the child. Not whether it should be done at all.

    I agree that it’s probably not a medical issue, but as her parents, it’d be smart not to rule that out entirely if the behavior continues.

    • Jerry

      Direct communication: “Honey, you may not realize it, but you’re eating really loudly. You need to correct this. Otherwise people aren’t going to want to eat around you.”

      But I reiterate my earlier disbelief that this is even a question.

  7. Patricia

    I also have a daughter whom is experiencing the same issues with her son. Raised in his earliest years by his stay at home father, who also has the same problem. We simply remind him of his error at each meal politely and we have noticed his improvement.
    My grandson, 7yrs old, has secreatly shared with me, “my food tastes much better when I can smell it in my mouth” inocencence and honesty explains it all. FYI

  8. Zakafury

    She “recently developed” this problem as an adolescent. There is probably an underlying cause. Perhaps she just got braces and this simply hasn’t dawned on her dear father.

    Presumably she knows that we eat with our mouth closed, and she doesn’t realize she isn’t. Bring the topic up directly, but don’t assume open with anything accusatory.

  9. Naomi

    I have reminded my 12 year old child at every single meal to close her mouth. She will for one or two bites, and then it’s open again. This has been going on for 2 years. She does not have nasal problems. Now what?

    • Elizabeth

      Naomi, tough question. I am of two minds on this.

      On one hand, the solution might be to just back way off (or to get an unbiased second opinion). It could be that you are overfocused on this one thing, that it isn’t as bad as you might think, and that with time it will get better. It probably feels very natural to your daughter to chew the way she does, and unnatural or uncomfortable to chew differently. Also, 12-year olds are not know for their great attention spans. She probably really is forgetting after a few bites. One could say, if this is her only fault, she’s doing quite well.

      On the other hand, while I don’t usually look at other people while they’re eating and hence don’t really notice how they eat, I have one nephew who chews with his mouth open so egregiously, I cannot sit across the table from him – it is so unappetizing. I wonder if reframing this issue with your daughter might be the way to go. Try setting aside your frustration (which I too would feel in your situation!) and coming at it from a place of kindness. Maybe you can find some videos of people chewing with their mouth open, so she can understand what it looks like from the other side. It’s a fine line to walk. You don’t want to make her totally self-conscious, especially around food as girls at that age are at risk for eating disorders, but in order for people to live in polite society, we all have to be a little self-conscious. Maybe there is a book on manners geared for kids of that age that might get the message across?

      Best of luck to you!

    • Lori C

      Naomi: I’d try positive reinforcement. Is there something she really wants? Let her know how important good manners are and chewing with your mouth closed is something everyone does in polite society. Set up something simple. Perhaps stars on poster board. A gentle reminder one on one before everyone sits down to eat. She gets a star and praise from you when makes it though a meal chewing with her mouth closed. Don’t scold her if she fails, just no star. When she earns X number of starts, she gets her reward. Be sure to give this enough time for it to become a habit. Some say 21 days, other say a couple of months. Good luck!

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