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My Teen Doesn’t Like My…Chewing? Am I Loud, Or Is She Nitpicking?

So…I’m eating dinner, minding my own business, when my 16-year-old daughter looks at me with a totally disgusted look and asks, “Do you have to make so much noise when you eat?”

I think that I generally handle myself in a relatively socially acceptable manner, so I assumed that this was simply one of those teenager things, smiled (with my mouth closed, food inside) and kept on eating.

A few minutes later, I got another even more horrified look with the exclamation, “Seriously!!”

“What?” I asked (after completely chewing and swallowing my food, then wiping my mouth appropriately with a napkin).

“You’re giving me a headache!!” she replied. “Can’t you eat more quietly??!!”

My Daughter Is Annoyed By My Chewing

I’d like to think I’m supportive of those teen quirks, so I didn’t make a big deal of it and tried to eat really softly (in spite of the fact that this was in my house, with the food that I paid for, etc.).

A short while later I heard it again. “Oh my God!! Why can’t you eat quietly!!??”

“Honey,” I replied, “I think I’m eating normally. Is it possible you’re being a little over sensitive?” Personally, I think she is hypersensitive to chewing, also known as Misophonia. (Or her diagnosis might be Teen-phonia.)

“Well,” said my son (who’s usually on my side), “you do chew a little loudly.”

As I carefully pulled the knife out of my back, I asked, “Really??”

“Maybe a little,” said my wife (not always on my side, but at least usually reasonable).

I’m a fairly confident individual and comfortable with my social interactions, so I laughed along with the others. Over the next few weeks, we spent a considerable amount of dinnertime conversation discussing my eating habits. Of course, I knew that this was just the typical teasing banter that my family loves.

One day, I happened to be eating lunch at work when I asked some co-workers that I was with, “Do I eat loudly?”

“What do you mean?” was the response.

“Well my kids tease me because they think I make too much noise when I chew.”

“I guess, a little,” said one person.

“Especially with chips,” said another.

Well, I’m still confident, but I was a little horrified. As Jerry Seinfeld might say, Dad’s a “loud chewer.” I wondered what else my teens (and others) might be noticing that seemed normal to me. Needless to say, my kids couldn’t contain themselves when I (mistakenly?) relayed the confirmation to them.

So going forward, I will do my best. But I guess the answer to the original question is, “Yes, I have to make so much noise when I eat.”

Dan Borison

Dr. Dan Borison, a writer and Disney Dad of five, is a doctor in his free time.

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