DEAR ABBY: My 11-year-old niece, "Nina," has no table manners. I was surprised at her inappropriate behavior because her parents are well-educated people who were raised with good table manners.
I didn't say anything when Nina slathered clotted cream on her scone with her fingers, but I was disgusted. I did suggest she use a spoon after she scooped rice out of a communal bowl with her hand. Both of these incidents happened in restaurants.
Is there anything I can do when I must eat with this child? I know it may have been wrong of me to correct Nina in front of her mother, but we were all eating from the same bowl. Should I ignore her ignorance of basic table manners and keep my mouth shut? -- LOST MY APPETITE IN HOUSTON
DEAR LOST YOUR APPETITE: By age 11, children should have mastered basic table manners. (Not eating with one's fingers is one of the basics.) Is your niece learning-disabled? If the answer is no, you should discuss this with your sibling. Nina is at an age when she needs to know what's expected of her when she's out in public.