Thanks for sharing your perspective on abolishing the concept the kids’s table at large family gatherings. How timely! However, as I scurry about making last minute preparations for the Thanksgiving dinner I’ll be attending tomorrow along with approximately 30 close family members, I can’t help but wonder why in the name of all things pumpkin spice Huff Post Life published this nonsensical drivel… er, I mean, can’t help but feel a little stuck on a few of your points. In fact, all of them. Let’s go ahead and run down the list, you know, just to be sure we don’t do anything drastic before we’ve really thought this through.
1. “It’s better to pay attention to your kids than your phone.”
You, sir, are a noble man! I commend you and the worthy brigade you’re leading. In fact, I’ll even stand on my chair and “Captain, my Captain” your efforts to banish phones from the dinner table and reinforce our need to repair our dwindling ability to connect with one another, face to face. So much yes. Only… tell me again how placing kiddos at the adult dinner table accomplishes this? I see you’ve linked to a lovely study that points out how too much smartphone usage by parents damages kids, yet you conveniently left out any research indicating a correlation between kids sitting at the adult table and a decrease in phone usage. Because there likely isn’t any, right? Methinks perhaps you’ve begun your argument with a little post hoc ergo propter hoc. You may want to brush up on those freshman year of college logical fallacies before you publish your next argument. (Just Google it on your smartphone!)
Side note: Having my kids at the table with me would probably increase my smartphone usage based on (1) my desire to take photos of my adorable children, (2) their request that I look up something for their li’l curious and digitally native brains and (3) my desire to escape their inevitable assholery.
2. “Kids should be leading the conversation at the table.”
We grownups just talk about our boring old jobs and office politics, you say. OK, but do you know what kids talk about? Poop. And farts. And the wet boogers they are actively removing from their nostrils and slurping down right along with the mashed potatoes. Sure, kids do ask some really cool questions and deeply engaging in conversation with kids can absolutely be refreshing and inspirational. You know what else is refreshing and inspirational? Adults listening to one another’s day-to-day challenges and triumphs with empathy, kindness and generosity.
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Here is a woefully incomplete list of things my children have argued about recently: whose turn it is to push the Start button on the washing machine, who deserves the dollar store Minions cup, whose bedtime story gets read first, whose heart God lives in, who poked whose private part first, who gets to touch the dead mouse in the plastic bag, who ate the last stale week-old pumpkin muffin and who can draw a better butt.
I get that we are in a pretty gruesome political climate and many families are right to worry about how to navigate these uncomfortable conversations. But I just can’t remember a time ever when adding a group of holiday-hyper, overexcited children to any scenario reduced arguing.
4. “The kids’ table makes things weird for unmarried people without kids.”
OK, this is where things really fall apart. You cite a friend of yours who is in her 30s,
hosts her family’s Thanksgiving, cooks the entire meal and gets “banished to sit with her nieces and nephews in what seems like some sort of bizarre punishment for not procreating or being married.”
And you say that this is not unusual.
Um, yes it fucking is. I don’t know what kind of circles you run in, but putting 30-somethings at the kids' table is not normal. And any 30-year-old who hosts and cooks should also be adult enough to place herself at any table she wants to sit at.
Oh, and this is also the point in your article where you choose to reveal that you don’t have any children of your own. Wha?? Right. I’m reealllly not one of those obnoxious parents who thinks that non-parents don’t get to have valid thoughts and opinions. However, if you don’t have to be responsible for the behavior/table/manners/language/etc of the children at the table AND you don’t have to have your own meal coopted by the incessant interruption and distraction of these tiny humans… yeah, I think we’re done here.
5. “Death happens. Make the most of the moment.”
And yet, you have one more weird, vague emotional appeal to make. People die! Therefore, we should all sit at one table. I don’t have time for this, Lee Breslouer. People die. Let’s all enjoy the holiday in the ways that bring us the most enjoyment. You go do you. I’m going to hose off the kid-sized lawn chairs we need for our kids’ table.