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Aug
24

The Family Dinner

By

pam-dinnerI’ve spoken to a number of people and I am surprised to hear, all too often, that they “don’t sit down for dinner as a family”.  Why, I ask. “we’re too busy, ya know, Joey has basketball and Susie has volleyball”.  They also state they “eat out a  lot too” because of all the running around and busyness.  This is a sad state of affairs.

Is the family dinner becoming a relic of the past?

Not to bore you with some stats, but I did google this and here’s a little sample what I found online:

http://www.thescramble.com/family-dinner-challenge-statistics/

A poll by NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health found that:

  • Busy family schedules are cutting into family dinners together—46 percent of those surveyed said eating together is difficult to do on a regular basis.

  • Fewer than half the parents surveyed admitted that they had eaten together six or seven nights out of the previous week.

…But research shows that dining together is more important than you might think!

According to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, kids and teens who share family dinners three or more times per week:

  • Are less likely to be overweight

  • Are more likely to eat healthy food

  • Perform better academically

  • Are less likely to engage in risky behaviors (drugs, alcohol, sexual activity)

  • Have better relationships with their parents

More frequent family dinners are related to fewer emotional and behavioral problems, greater emotional well-being, more trusting and helpful behaviors towards others and higher life satisfaction.” –Journal of Adolescent Health, April 2012.

Children and adolescents who share family meals three or more times per week are more likely to be in a normal weight range and have healthier dietary and eating patterns than those don’t, says the American Academy of Pediatrics.

24 percent of teens want more frequent family dinners.

Families who eat dinner together with the television off eat more fruits and vegetables than those who eat separately or with the television on, according to a study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

I for one, think it is  essential to a healthy marriage and family to eat 3-5 meals together.  I think it builds close bonds, keeps us all in the loop, and is fun! Or at least, can be; I know some meals will not be in the “Top Ten” category of “most enjoyed dinners” list.  When husbands and wives are getting along, it can also be an example of healthy communication between loved ones.

The funny thing is too, the 2 weeks before I wrote on this, I would have said, “my family eats 4 times a week” and after I wrote this,  it has been a crazy 2 weeks, with practically no family dinners! My  teens have been at their girlfriends’ homes for dinner, or taken them out to dinner, or they’ve been working.  When they were under 12 years old, it seemed to be easier to make family dinners a regular event at our house.

So, women, moms, and wives out there: Is the family dinner a relic of the past? Whether you agree or disagree, let me know how it works in your family.  Do you sit down, no TV or iPod going, and eat dinner and talk with your spouse and children?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Pam Bass is a wife, mom, and licensed Christian counselor, who has helped hundreds of people over the last 23 years.  She desires wives especially to be cognizant of the way the American culture can influence our stated Christian values.  Through her blog, she hopes to encourage women (in particular) to  know and trust what God tells us in His word.  Find out more at www.pambass.com

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