Q: My husband and I have a very shy 10-year-old boy who loves to read. Sometimes we go out to dinner with our children for extended family gathering because I have a very close family. At the gatherings there are no boys my son’s age. My son often asks if he can bring his book when we go out to dinner or get together at my cousin’s house for a family holiday. In general, we say no because it’s rude to read while you are having dinner with, or visiting, other people. Once in a while, however, if we know we will be occupied with other people and my son will be bored, we let him bring his book to read. Are we setting a bad example by letting him read only sometimes during these family gatherings ?
A: You are correct that it is inappropriate for your son to read a book at the table. However, after he has made an effort to socialize with the other family members, it would be all right for him to read a book as long as it doesn’t appear he’s ignoring other family members trying to involve him in the festivities.