Dear Savvy Auntie,

My nephew is a nose picker and burps a lot. On purpose. Now I guess if he was little it would be ok. But he's 13 and should know better. It’s just gross. His parents don’t saying anything, but frankly, I can’t imagine sitting at the Thanksgiving table with him if he is going to be that crass. My sister says it’s no big deal and he’ll grow out of it. Is she right?

Grossed Out
Vancouver, BC

Grossed Out

Dear Grossed Out,

These behaviors, at this age, in these circumstances, are representative of hostility, anger and rebellion. It is important for his parents to try to get to the source of the feelings being expressed in an anti-social manner. This is called acting out, when someone behaves inappropriately and doesn’t know and articulate how they are feeling.

I urge you not to “leave the table” as you very well might be able to help open the true roots of his emotions as well as role model nice manners. However, don’t give him a lot of attention for his behavior as that will just reinforce it. Try giving each of him two compliments before the antics begin.

Happy Thanksgiving,
Natalie Robinson Garfield


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