EATING OFF THE FLOOR: CHILD ABUSE OR EASY CLEAN UP?

Ann - posted on 11/21/2013 ( 15 moms have responded )

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HI Ladies,

I'm new to the whole Mommy thing, I'm a Stepmommy. Well my partner's ex-wife (their Mom) and I don't have anything in common, but our relationship is civil. One thing really REALLY bothers me. She makes them eat off the floor at her house.

They're both autistic (ages 4 and 6) and the older one verbalizes and the younger one is working on it. They sit at the table and eat like little gentlemen at my house, they even use napkins on their laps.

I think it's borderline abusive to have them eat on the floor. She claims it's an easy clean up, I think it's treating them like animals.

Thoughts?

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♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 11/21/2013

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Yeah, I have to say I agree with Jodi & Kelly, with this added:

When I had a houseful of young kids, it was easier to set everyone at their own place setting on the floor. We had individual trays that were covered in contact paper, and away we'd go. We didn't ever have a large enough kitchen/dining area that we could actually do table dinners all of the time, even when it was just us and our two kids, so we adapted.

Trust me. My kids are grown, and no stranger or odder than they would have been had they been sitting at a table every night for 18 years! Plus, having their own individual trays made clean up responsibilities easy to teach, as far as each put their dishes in the sink, wiped their area (tray) and put it up.

Yes, they have table manners, as those weren't shirked. No reason not to have table manners, it doesn't mean you have to have a table!

Jodi - posted on 11/21/2013

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I agree with you. However, it's still not abusive, and that was your question. You can't control what she decides to do in her house. I think you need to back off and leave her alone. You do your thing in your house, she can do her thing in her house. But her house is not any of your business unless it is abusive, and in this case, it isn't. You also don't have the right to criticise the fact to the children. So don't comment on strange you find it, or how wrong it is, to them.

Helen - posted on 11/22/2013

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I'm sorry I disagree with the others. I find it degrading thst a child should eat all meals on the floor like that. How do you learn manners if you never taught them? I do find it falls to the abuse side. A picnic meal is a rare treat in my house, food is served at the table. Oh and yes I understand autism as 2 of my 4 children are on the spectrum.
Well done you for treating them like human beings and sitting them at the table.

Ann - posted on 11/21/2013

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No, I never say a bad word about her ever in my house. I will just continue to teach them my way when they're in my home and hope those habits stick. The little one just turned 5, so only 13 more years of playing nice!

Thanks for the input ladies.

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Jodi - posted on 05/08/2015

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LOL, K. Most commenting on this post aren't teachers. Where did you get that from? noone in this post even mentioned being a teacher. You appear just to be saying that because you have some bee in your bonnet over something.

And to suggest teachers don't care because it isn't their kids is actually not true. Clearly you have a healthy respect for teachers. Good to see.....

You also should be careful mentioning teacher's names while you defame them online. This could lead you to all sorts of trouble.

K. - posted on 05/08/2015

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Hello,

I support your opinion 100%. Did you notice that most of the answers
you got from the teachers?... they trade our kids health for their
convenience and use a " easy clean up" as an excuse. It's not their kids
- they don't care.
Do you know why teachers are promoting this disgusting action and
continue to mock on our children by forcing them eat on the floor?
Because they are lazy! Yes, it's that simple.

They don't want to clean up in case if our kids will accidentally pour
something on the table. Our teacher drop a hint about it. Teachers
don't vacuum and they don't care how dirty is the floor.
Our teacher (Taylor Davis from Rachel Carson Elementary School) not only forcing
kids to eat from the floor, but also she's forcing kids to eat by hands!!!
In this school they have gastroenteritis epidemic often and my kid got
sick very often.

How many kids in the class? Did they changing their shoes after
walking in to the class? How many times per week the floors got
washed and carped got washed?
The kids are walking on the street, where is dirt, cars driving,
pollutions, dogs/cats urinate etc . And then kids walking into class,
seating on that floor , touching it by hands and eating-drinking...

Shame on you, lazy, careless teachers!
We should take better care about our kids!

Dove - posted on 11/23/2013

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Child abuse? You ever been on a picnic? lol My kids eat most of their meals on the couch... and yes, often times one or another is sitting on the floor. I wouldn't make an issue of it. Feed them how you like when they are w/ you and let her feed them her way.

LalaBoom - posted on 11/22/2013

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Thanks Jodi, I wasn't sure and was scratching my head for a while.... lol

Then no, Ann Broer....

Child abuse? That's a stretch hun..... I think you may be fishing :-x

LalaBoom - posted on 11/22/2013

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I need some clarification... When you say, "she makes them eat off the floor.." are you saying the food itself is on the floor, or they are using the floor as a "table" with the food on plates, etc.

If its just using the floor as a table, IMO this is not abusive. I'm a stepmom and I do this with my stepkids, especially if they were watching TV, or eating AND playing at the same time. They eat at the table too. They see no difference in either.

Whatever you do- DO NOT tell their mother (or the kids!) this is abusive. She IS mom and does have the right to call ALL the shots when the children are at her home and under her care. Look at it this way, you get to teach them how to eat at a table.

Hope that helps! :)

[deleted account]

I agree with Jodi; I wouldn't consider that abuse, but I also agree with you that it would be better for their development if she taught them to eat at the table.

That said, we don't know all of her reasons for doing it. Does she have the kids full time, and on her own? If they are with her for most of the week, and she has to handle a lot of the more difficult issues that arise with autism, this might be just one shortcut that she needs to take to save her sanity. She probably knows she should make them eat at the table, but in the context of the rest of her life, she is willing to sacrifice that in exchange for something more important. Especially since she knows they are learning to do it at your house. We all have those little shortcuts we take to make life easier--I know my son should be learning Spanish right now, it is a truly important aspect of his development, but right now I have a lot of other things taking priority, so we've dropped it. I feel letting Spanish slip is justifiable because it gives me more time for things that I consider even more important. She could be doing the same thing--maybe homework takes hours every afternoon so she lets them eat on the floor to save a few minutes for that or whatever else is on her plate.

Ann - posted on 11/21/2013

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I don't think she means it in a deliberate abusive way, I just think it's certainly demeaning to them. Especially with their level of autism, getting them to exercise regular habits is important, and I think it puts them at a serious disadvantage to teach them that eating off the floor is normal or usual.

Jodi - posted on 11/21/2013

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I would hardly call it child abuse if she is serving it on a plate and then they sit on the floor to eat it. Sure, it wouldn't be my choice on an every day basis (we have done it on occasion because we've had a special "picnic" dinner or something) - we sit up and eat at the table too. But it isn't abuse.

Ann - posted on 11/21/2013

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Hey Kelly,

No, she serves them food on the plate, BUT she serves it on the floor only. Yesterday was the littlest one's birthday and she served the cake on the floor. She even took a picture and sent it to my partner, thinking it was cute. My first response was "Why is the cake on the floor?"

And I've had the boys take their plates after I hand them food and go to sit on the kitchen floor. I kindly guide them to their table, and then they sit.

[deleted account]

Do you mean she serves them their food on the floor???

I mean, it's one thing if your kid finds a cheerio on the floor and picks it up--gross, but okay.
Even if your kid takes his plate and goes to sit on the floor to eat by a window or curl up on a blanket with a book. Not a great practice for lots of reasons, but not abusive either.
It is a completely different situation if she is dumping their food directly on the floor and making them eat it. That's abusive. First, how is that "easier" clean up?? Wouldn't she have to first sweep up all the crumbs, wipe up any "wet" foods, and still have to mop the area where they ate? Wouldn't it be easier to stick a plate in the dishwasher and wipe the table down? Even if they drop crumbs on the floor, they are not likely to drop THAT much, so a quick once over with a broom would handle it.

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