Painful mealtimes with older teans – time to give up?

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    Hello, my first post here, but I’m hoping some of you will have experienced this.  I’ve been single now for a few years, and it’s a daily challenge (!), but the thing that’s pushing me over the edge just now is mealtimes,  I have 3 older teenage boys, aged 16-19. They’re good kids, but mealtimes are just torture.  It’s difficult to get them all off their devices to even come to the table and when they do they mostly just sit in silence, gulp the food and leave.  Smetimes someone  is up for a chat, and it’s really lovely, but usually I’m there like an idiot trying to make conversation, and no one’s joining in.  Tonight I’d done a nice roast and they just sat there with faces tripping them,  I’m hurt as I’ve put a bit of effort into dinner (though it’s the same even if it’s just something out the freezer), so tonight I decided not not try to make conversation, let’s see what happens..  Nothing!! I did mention a couple of things, but basically we sat there in silence, cutlery clanking…. ouch!  They did mumble thanks when they l eft, but I could have cried.  And this happens a lot.

    My question is – is this common? I feel if there was another adult we could at least model polite conversation (in theory,….I do know it can go the other way!).  They’re old enough that they should be able to make an effort at conversation.  It’s not that they can’t, they just can’t be bothered.  Does anyone have some strategies? Should I just give in and have dinner in front of the TV? It’s just occasionally we do chat and itls really  nice. I imagine all these perfect families discussing their days etc…. and our dinner is just tumbleweed time.  They’ll all be leaving home soon and these “family” times together feel quite precious.  Help please!!

    #21750 Report


    Hey paperpumpkin

    Huge hugs 🤗 my kids are slightly younger than yours at 15,12,8 years though I’m pretty firm that they come to sit at the dining table and we all eat together. I do tell them there’s no technology at the table and try give them some responsibility in helping to prepare the meals in turn. If they can’t be bothered to help make the meal, they’ll find themselves washing the pots afterwards which they all hate! If it needs me to turn the WiFi off, then so be it. It’s a small amount of time from their 24-hr day.  I think you do well to have them all at the table, so don’t give up and start eating alone in front of the TV. All I could suggest is that you have a ‘family meeting’ and ask them whether they feel it would be fair to have no technology at the table for 15-20mins at meal times, I’m sure if they get the idea that’s how it’s going to be then they’ll afford you that time. It’s not a big ask. Kids expect many things from us as parents on a daily basis, we’re not here to serve them, they should help towards the household in an age appropriate way and that involves a little mutual respect

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