DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m married, with two young children. When our kids ask my wife a question and she is doing something else (watching TV, looking at her cellphone), she does not respond or acknowledge them.
Is this proper etiquette, or is it just being rude? Is the proper thing to acknowledge the child, and tell them you will speak with them in a moment, as you’re busy?
GENTLE READER: No one enjoys being interrupted. Etiquette recognizes this, and balances the potential damage to the activity against the importance of the interjection.
Disrupting laundry-folding is different than interrupting someone blowing glass. Doing so to find out what’s on the calendar for next week is different than reporting that the house is on fire.
Debating where on the spectrum “Have you seen the car keys?” falls is one of the major activities of married life.
But context is also a factor. The breakfast table is a familial, social setting. In that case, Miss Manners disallows pleas of an important work email taking priority. All this aside, is this really the example your wife wants to set for children who will someday be teenagers?