Do you have dinner with your family at least few times every week? I know life gets busy. Nobody is around at the same time any more. Everyone keeps their own schedules and eats at different times. But what does it take to do family dinners together? Read on to find why that is important.
It is not just about gulping down food or learning table manners. But dinner time is proving to be very critical family time and means to pass on values to the next generation.
Dinner time is where we share our values, what happened to us during the day, our hopes and fears. It’s where we ask questions and learn from each other. This is where we become real, vulnerable to each other, support and help each other copes with real life issues. This is where we do life on life from generation to generation.
The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University finds that teens who have dinner with their parents three or fewer times per week are four times more likely to smoke, twice as likely to drink, two-and-a-half times more likely to smoke marijuana, and four times as likely to say they will use drugs in the future as those who eat dinner five to seven times a week with their parents.
These findings mirror the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health, which is the largest longitudinal study ever done on adolescents. This study has some amazing statistics. Of twelve to fourteen year olds who don’t experience family dinners at least five days a week, 14 percent report drinking more than once a month. That’s kids twelve to fourteen. But for those who have family dinners, it’s cut to 7 percent! Also, 27 percent of twelve to fourteen year olds who don’t have regular family dinners say they think about suicide, compared with only 8 percent of those who do eat with their families. Among seventeen to nineteen year olds, 68 percent without the influence of family dinners have had sex, versus 49 percent of those who have had family dinners.
Take time to have dinner with your family tonight!