The Family That Dines Together, Stays Together

For many busy families, getting everyone to sit down at the table together for dinner can seem like an impossible task. However, Dallas-area counselors agree that family dinners can have a substantial impact on positive communication and increase bonds between family members of all ages. Making the time to dine together often means that the family stays together through thick and thin. Here are a few reasons why family dinners have taken on more importance today than ever.

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Avoiding Bad Influences and Increasing Social Benefits

According to WebMD, studies have shown that family dinners reduce the likelihood of teens using drugs and alcohol, and increase grades and self-esteem. The underlying foundation of this result is that family dinners encourage communication and facilitate direct engagement between parents, children, and even siblings. Another good tactic if you want to supplement dinnertime for more quality moments spent together, try introducing recreational activities like board games, or even watching a movie together. The point of these activities are opportunities to not only engage with your kids and vice versa, but also to encourage a group familial dynamic. This fosters communication, openness, and a sense of security for younger members of the family.

Spiritual and Nutritional Value

Today’s world is much busier than it used to be, and that goes for your kids as well as yourself. Information is processed faster, schools are pushing more homework, and daily life is generally hectic. Of course, this leads to fast food options in terms of meals being preferred as well, which can have extremely damaging effects on kids. Teaching the entire family the importance of preparing food at home is absolutely essential to the health and well-being of your entire crew. A family dinner is a strong reinforcement of this principle. For example, Fatherly.com states that kids who eat with their family statistically have lower rates of childhood obesity and tend to seek out more nutritious food on their own, rather than fast food or junk food snacks that are quick and easy. Shared meals have the combined impact of improving both spiritual and also physical health. Teaching your kids to prepare food provides life skills that they will use into adulthood, and will help keep them healthy at all ages.

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Not Just Dinner

Touting all these benefits, The Family Dinner Project also points out that there’s no magic number for how many times per week a family should eat together, and a shared meal doesn’t need to be restricted to just dinner. If you can eat breakfast or lunch together, it can be just as effective. All families are different with the amount of free time each member has, especially the parents. If you’re working a demanding job that requires late hours, then maybe sitting down to a prepared family dinner five nights a week just isn’t feasible. That’s okay. The point is to make the effort and prioritize the event as an important weekly ritual, because it will have a huge impact either way.
Family counseling can also be a great way facilitate reconnection and communication. Allen family counseling offers numerous ways and approaches for how to continue to improve and strengthen familial relationships, which leads to success, self-esteem, and good lifestyle decisions.

About the Author:

Jennifer Slingerland Ryan knows a thing or two about kids and families. First, she knows they are joyous, exhilarating, loving and so darn fun. Second, she knows they suck your life dry and make you weep like a baby. By day she’s a psychotherapist; by night she’s a mom and wife. She claims to love therapizing couples, educating parents, reading dystopian fiction and sleeping in her free time (read: she never sleeps). Jennifer has spent over 12 years in private practice working with individuals, couples, and parents who are faced with kid-drama, mamma-drama, and family-drama, and she claims that although some stories make a grown woman cry, she loves it.

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