Monday, May 24, 2010

Dinner with the Family: It’s More Important Than You Might Think

When was the last time you had dinner with your family? It is the meal we often skip because we work late, the kids have sporting events, or we get tired from daily activities. But skipping dinner with the family can be detrimental to the family dynamic.

Family dinners are more than just a meal. It is about the only time that families have to share time through the week. Whether you sit down to the dinner table or enjoy a meal on tray tables and a movie in the family room, the important thing is that you are together.

Hold On to Your Kids: Why Parents Need to Matter More Than PeersThere are some interesting facts surrounding family dinner time. For instance, teens who spend dinner time eating with their family are less likely to get involved in drug- or alcohol-abuse or other illicit activities. This is a point many parents will find interesting. Out of all of the things you do to try to keep your kids away from bad influences the one thing that is the greatest influence is still the event that we skip routinely.

Why is dinner so important? For one thing, it is a time to share thoughts and feelings. All day kids are influenced by teachers, friends, and the outside world. At the dinner table they get a chance to connect with their parents on tough issues like schoolwork, peer pressure, and friendships. They can each share and help one another with helpful suggestions. Parents can even talk about work or family finances over a meal.

Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves: Transforming parent-child relationships from reaction and struggle to freedom, power and joyThe main point is that conversation is taking place. The average parent spends less than an hour a week talking to their child. It takes a second to say “Hi” when you come in at night, but that isn’t effective communication. When dinner is shared by the family you spend a period of time chatting; even just observing their parents' conversation is good for children's developing communication skills and awareness of other people. Even watching a television programme can prompt engaging questions or an opportunity to share a related experience.

Young children learn how to communicate with their siblings and parents. They are the center of attention with questions about their day and it makes them feel happy. You know that kids always want to be in the limelight when they are a certain age and this helps them learn to share the spot with others.

The Gentle Art of Communicating with KidsBody image is important to teenagers. Learning to prepare and eat healthy meals with their families is a good habit to develop that will keep their bodies in shape and give them a healthy relationship with food and their bodies. Teens are less likely to become the victim of an eating disorder when they eat dinner with their families.

There are many benefits to eating dinner with the family. It is a time for meaningful communication that leads children to develop stronger self-images and an ability to resist destructive behaviors.

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