As my son has gotten older, I've tried to give him more opportunities to serve himself food. This is for a couple of reasons. One is so that he learns more about portions and has a better idea of how much food to take without wasting any. Another reason is so that he understands that it is not my job to serve him food. But, I read an article the other day that gives my list another reason: It makes him a better negotiator.
I am not sure who thought to study this aspect of sharing food, but I guess that it makes sense. If you are sharing food from the same plate with someone, then you are forced to think about their needs and not just your own. It also makes you feel closer to that person.
This might be why I still like get popcorn at the movies: Popcorn is yummy and easily sharable. Eating it brings people closer together.
And whenever I spend time with my coworkers at a restaurant, I notice that we almost always get an appetizer or other plate of food to share. We encourage each other to take more; nobody wants to be the one to take the last bite of something. I think this is another way we promote closeness within the team - albeit a subconscious one.
I will continue to encourage my son to serve himself food, and to share plates of food with us - including movie night popcorn. Even if it doesn't end up helping his communication skills, I think it keeps us connected.
Do you serve your family meals or prefer for everyone to serve themselves? Tell me in the comments.