Monday, February 15

The Table

For over 25 years I thought it was my unending words of wisdom and consistent discipline that taught my kids to refrain from smoking, drinking, illegal drugs and promiscuous behavior. Recent studies prove me wrong!

The National Addiction and Substance Abuse center says that it is Family Dinnertime that fosters these good habits in children.

Families that eat together make better choices.

Do you believe that?

16 month old Samuel was over for dinner this weekend. It was just the 3 of us so I pulled his high chair up to the table to test this concept. As my husband and I ate, he observed our food and our interaction while chowing down his portion. He didn't really care where we were in the process, he just shoved his food in until he was full.

Clearly, family dinners take time to establish a pattern, but just realizing their value is important.

Looking back at family dinners, I can see where simple lessons were taught as our kids sat around the table and we ate as a family. They learned at an early age to:
*sit in their seat
*wipe their hands
*ask for food with manners
*refrain from interrupting
*take turns to talk
* they pass food to others

But where do they learn not to take drugs, drink and smoke?

Gayle Peterson, PHD says, "Consistently having dinner together as a family keeps us in touch, allowing us to trouble-shoot problems in daily living, as well as keeping us abreast of our family members' activities and life experience. It is in the family group that we develop an ability to discuss, to express our opinions, to be ourselves and allow others to be themselves."

Like every other good habit, it's the consistency that makes it work.

I think it's sad that the family dinner is perhaps a dying tradition or one that has to be recognized as being valuable. It used to be just a given.

Join us this week as we are going to look at the fun aspects of the family table and how to make your dinnertime memorable and effective.


cybil said...

that's so interesting and I believe at once it is true!
I'm sure these dinners give children a feeling of belonging, of cosiness, of self esteem - as long there is a good and open atmosphere!
looking forward to the next posts and greetings from Switzerland!!!

Barb said...

Wow, an 'international comment'! Thanks for your input. Keep reading and let us know what Homemaking with Hope looks like in Switzerland for you and your family.