Recently I came across an interesting statistic. This was something that was practiced regularly in my home growing up. My mother was a firm believer in this. During my childhood just about everyone I knew also did this, but today that is changing. The family sit down dinner is becoming obsolete. It is now the norm for individual family members to eat at staggered times based on their busy schedules and commitments. Apparently this lost tradition is opening up our teens to a heap of trouble. The research came from a study of how often families eat meals together and the correlation of their teen’s illegal drug use.
Researchers came to the conclusion that teens who eat 5-7 regular meals together are less likely to try drugs, know others who do drugs, and to experiment with drugs. While teens who eat 0-2 times a week with their families were much more likelier to do drugs, know people who do drugs, and to say that they plan to try drugs. You can check out the research yourself at : http://familyfacts.org/charts/459/teens-who-frequently-eat-dinner-with-family-are-less-likely-to-use-drugs-or-alcohol
So does this mean that you can stuff your kids full of food and this will satisfy their cravings for drugs? Well, not exactly. I’m sure it has something to do with the human sacrifice of mom, dad, or another member of family serving by preparing a meal. You can also add into the mix the relevant intimate conversation that goes around a dinner table. These acts connect us in healing relationships that meet internal needs of belonging, being appreciated, being cared for, and valued. Despite all of their bravo, a teen is a fragile, insecure, and needy person. They need the valuable time spent eating a meal together.
So when you grimace, groan, and gripe about what in the world you are going to fix tonight, remember this research. You are investing in your children in profound ways by fixing dinner. You are saying, “I love you!” in a way that your kids may not understand at the time, but will pay dividends into the future.
What are your thoughts on this research? Have you seen evidence of this in your family?