Heinous or Harmless – supper

We have a rule in our house, no matter where you are or who you are with, everyone is at the supper table at 6pm, and all friends must return to their own houses. The supper hour is family time for us, a time to reconnect and bask in familial love.

If you are a parent, you are familiar with the question that gets asked a million and one times from 4 pm onwards. “What’s for supper?” My favourite answer to them is “fresh air sandwiches” – after all if I am making something they have decided not to like, I will have to hear whining about if for two hours, and I am so not in the mood for that any day of the week.

I make a wicked lasagna. Really really good lasagna. But two out of the brood will not eat it. That’s fine. I know in advance and I have another option available, usually. It’s their loss, but hey, all the more for us lasagna eaters.

The other night the boys (a selection of them) decided to go hang out at a neighbour’s house around 5pm. “Be home for supper” I called to them as they left. “No problem, Ima”. And they came back by 6pm. Having eaten pizza over at their friend’s house. I was more than a little miffed. I cooked supper, was looking forward to having everyone around us at the table, they had eaten already and were not interested in sitting at the table watching everyone else eat. They had brought their friend back with them as they had plans later on together – so I was not going to embarrass them by making a big deal about it.

Is this worth making a big deal over if it’s just a one time thing? Is this typical child behaviour or does it show a lack of respect? If they left to the friend’s house with the intention of eating pizza there so they didn’t have to eat at home – to me that’s heinous, and shows premeditation and sneakitude. If it just so happened that they were over there and then decided to have pizza, it’s less heinous.

What do you think? Heinous or harmless?

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  1. Sarah A says:

    I think you need to take into account it’s the summer holiday so fairly harmless. During school time or if they make a habit of it without letting you know first, that’s more heinous.

  2. RubyV says:

    My vote- not heinous, just growing boys who saw food and thought with their stomachs.

    I’d ask them to sit at the table with their friend for at least a little while and participate in the conversation. They may not be eating, but they can still socialize.

  3. fille says:

    I think it is OK for them to sneak away and eat Pizza at someone else’s house if they know you will cook something they do not like.

    You have the power in the house and impose your supper hour 6pm and the menu.

    So the only way to get around the powers of a dictator IS to be sneaky. They are in their full right to do it.

    If you do not want them to be sneaky, change the balance of power. It’s as easy as that.

    • RubyV says:

      I’m just curious – what do you think she should be doing? In my house for example, your choices are what was cooked, pb&j, or nothing, since I am not a short order cook and already balance three different dietary needs – allergies, diabetes, and veggie me.

      • fille says:

        I think it is perfectly OK to have supper at 6 p.m, cook one meal, and whoever doesn’t like it misses out or can have an alternative cold snack.

        However, I also feel that it’s perfectly OK for adolescents, if they know they do not like what is being cooked, that they go someplace else and eat what they like: no reason to make a big fuss about it, in my opinion….

  4. lady lock and load says:

    I think it is wonderful that your boys have friends and they eat dinner at their houses, and the friends come to your house to play and hang out. Your son could have called home and said something like Hi Imma, they ordered pizza over here, okay if I have some? This way you know in advance not to set a place for him or make extra. But I don’t think this should be an every day thing, I think family dinners are very important.
    Last night, we had my daughter’s friend for supper and we all enjoyed her and her little cute stories of her adventures. She was amazed that we actually sit down and eat dinner as a family, as that doesn’t happen in her house.

  5. mekubal says:

    Personally I think it is harmless. If eating(kosher) at a friend’s house and not wanting to sit at the family table is the worst you have for teenage rebellion, count yourself lucky. Maybe make a show of being upset over it, but don’t flip out. Kids are going to be kids and they are going to try to push the boundaries…

  6. mrsmelissasg says:

    All I can share is that my house was the same as yours is. Dinner was at 6 and we were expected to be home to set the table and all eat as a family. No one left the table until everyone was done eating their dinner and drinking their milk. (even if we couldn’t finish our food, we had to drink our milk!)
    If we wanted to eat dinner at a friends’ house or have a friend join us, it was (almost) always ok so long as we called first.
    Perhaps that could be a summer rule to keep your boys being boys harmless….

  7. Z! says:

    I little reminder to them that a phone call would be appropriate in this situation would be a good thing.
    We were also 6 PM eaters. You snooze, you loose. You don’t like, make a sandwich. My mom was no ‘short order chef’!

  8. Leigh Ann says:

    No big deal that they ate- teenage boys eat 2 dinners all the time, right? Heinous that they brought a friend and didn’t want to sit at the table at 6. A rule is a rule. If you care about keeping it, you have to enforce it. Good luck :)

  9. G6 says:

    A) I highly doubt they premeditated the pizza.
    B) I’m a big believer in the family dinners as well but as the children get older, coupled with summertime, you sometimes have to make exceptions.
    I vote harmless on a “once in a while” basis.
    Keep trying for those family dinners. As they grow older, you will discover that sometimes they are an impossibility, but they are more and more appreciated ;)

  10. Mike S. says:

    Is this typical child behaviour or does it show a lack of respect? Both. But pretty harmless in my opinion. I might be a little more miffed if they knew before they went to the friends house that they would eat there, but they may not have known in advance. You don’t really expect growing boys to turn down pizza when they are hungry do you?

  11. Mrs. S. says:

    “What’s for supper?” My favourite answer to them is “fresh air sandwiches”

    I like to say, “Probably food, but I’ll let you know for sure…” ;-)

  12. I suspect the intent was harmless. But you should still make a big deal about the action. If suppertime together is a big deal to you, you should enforce that rule and let them know so they don’t do it again.

  13. t.fox1 says:

    Its nice to have a rule that everyone in family should eat dinner together. However, if that rule is inflexible then the rule is no longer nice and is heinous. The point of family dinner is for everyone to spend quality time together. If kids are forced to do it and there are no exceptions then it will quickly be viewed as a burden and will defeat its purpose.
    The rule should have an allowance for kids to eat by friends house or come back later and eat on their own as long as a majority of the time the family eats together.
    Preferably. the kids should call and let you know so that you can cook less, BUT kids will be kids and it is normal for them to forget and or get caught up in the moment.
    Leave it be

  14. T says:

    Heinous! they didn’t have to eat so much of the pizza that they actually had no more room for your lovely home cooked meal! WHICH, by the by… they KNEW would be waiting for them as they came through the door!!!

  15. just thinking says:

    I think heinous is a term way too over the top for this particular situation. I go with harmless.

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