Q: My 14 year old daughter who has wonderful people manners, has recently developed very loud eating habits. It has become worse. Sometimes she chews with her mouth open, sometimes she makes very loud chewing and smacking of the lips and mouth sounds. Right now, I don’t know anyone who eats as loudly as she does. I have tried to get her to slow down her eating but it has not helped the loud eating sounds. I do not know how to discuss this with her. I am also concerned that the wrong teenage boy in her school could mock her very severely. A thing like that can hang on a 14 year old for a long time.
A: Of course you don’t want to upset your daughter but as her parents you and your wife have an obligation to tactfully tell her that it’s inappropriate for anyone to chew with his or her mouth open, to chew noisily and/or make other sounds while eating. You may tell that you love her but you would hate to have her poor table manners take away from the wonderful person she is. Being honest but tactful should not break her heart. Yes, she might be upset at first but, hopefully, she will appreciate that your honesty and concern is really for her one good and not meant to hurt her feelings.