Family-Sized New Year's Resolutions.
When the new year begins, why not make a resolution to eat better as a family? You can keep good nutrition in mind as well as spend more quality time together at the table. And if you can make more of your meals a family event, experts say you may also be
Comforts Kids, Improves Family Communication continued...
"They may gripe about curfews, about telling parents where
they are on weekends. But in our focus groups, it's clear that kids view things
like this as expressions that parents care, that they love them. I think that's
a big factor in keeping them from drugs," Califano says.
A poll by the YMCA found that "not having enough time
together" with their parents is a top concern among teenagers today. That
poll also showed that children who never eat dinner with their families are 61%
more likely than the average teen to get involved in negative activities.
Kids who consistently have family dinnertime have better
emotional health than other kids, says Michael Resnick, PhD, a sociologist and
professor of pediatrics at the University of Minneapolis and director of the
National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Research Center.
His data come from the National Longitudinal Study of
Adolescent Health, a nationwide study of 20,000 young people in grades seven
through 12. The study was conducted through the University of North Carolina in
"Those kids were also less involved in risky behaviors,
including substance abuse and interpersonal violence," Resnick tells
"The needs of young people don't magically stop when they
turn a certain age," he says. "Many kids are skillful at giving the
message that parents aren't important in their lives. The mistake is that we
believe it. The findings from our study definitely show that kids value what
their parents say and do."
In fact, kids say they like family mealtime, he tells WebMD,
"because they're always hungry, and because it's comforting to them to have
food prepared. And they enjoy participating in that process. They feel
competent; they feel a sense of mastery, like they've contributed to something.
And kids say it's a time for the family to check in with each other."
What Family Dinner Time Should Be -- and Shouldn't Be
Dinner together doesn't have to be every night of the week. But
when it happens, "it should not be a dumping ground for issues that have
built up over the week," Resnick says. "Don't reprimand kids. Don't
make conflict the focus, or kids will stay away. We're talking about connection