We have a problem, and our best efforts have failed. So I'm turning to the interwebs for advice.
My son refuses to shut his mouth while he's chewing. I'm not talking about it comes open once or twice. I mean, if we aren't actively saying, "Shut your mouth!" or "Mouth closed while you're chewing!" then his mouth is hanging wide open or he's talking a mile a minute and you can see every gross particle of food inside of it.
Usually the mountain man stays on the alert. He has to make sure Javi takes the right sized bites (rather than either packing his mouth full or taking teeny-tiny bitty bites) that allow him to finish his meal in a normal amount of time (versus an hour or longer) without his mouth being too stuffed to close properly. But it's an overwhelming job, especially when the other parent doesn't do as great a job at paying attention (yes, that's me).
So last week we started a new policy that we hoped would result in less arguing and tension at the family table. Now Javi gets one warning to close his mouth while there's food in it. When he does it again, he must take his dinner to a tray we've set against the kitchen wall. He sits with his back to the table, facing that wall, to finish his meal. He is not to talk or at all participate in the dinner. If he speaks, we ignore him. If we're talking, he's not allowed to comment.
The "face the wall" punishment is supposed to serve two goals: Enforce to him that we refuse to look at the food in his mouth and give him incentive to keep his trap shut when there's food in it.
The problem: He gets to that wall and the open-mouthed chewing comes on full force. It's like he doesn't even bother trying to keep his mouth closed. I looked over at him this evening and I could see flakes of biscuit flying around. What the hell? This is obviously not going to work!
I need help, people. The kid doesn't have breathing problems and has been taught table manners. We didn't just spring this on him recently -- however it has reached a breaking point. Javi does have an overbite and slightly (okay, more than slightly) bucked teeth -- but we make him take bites that negate the tooth issue.