Family Articles

Interesting Statistics on Family Dinners

Interesting Statistics on Family Dinners

Do you think that sitting down and having a family dinner together is important? Here are some facts that may be of interest: The average parent spends 38.5 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their children. (A.C. Nielsen Co.) Family dinners are more important than play, story time and other family events in the development of vocabulary of younger children. (Harvard Research, 1996) Frequent family meals are associated with a lower risk of smoking, drinking and using drugs; with a lower incidence of depressive symptoms and suicidal thoughts; and with better grades in 11 to 18 year olds. (Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 2004) Adolescent girls who have frequent family meals, and a positive atmosphere during those meals, are less likely to have eating disorders. (University of Minnesota, 2004) Kids who eat most often with their parents are 40% more likely to say they get mainly A’s and B’s in school than kids who have two or fewer family dinners... Read the rest of this article »

Respect At the Dinner Table

Respect At the Dinner Table

My sister is an English teacher. She has taught different nationalities, from Africans, Indians, to Koreans. She enjoys her job so much because she revels in the diversity of each culture she teaches. Her students like her because of a unique method: she doesn’t impose what accent should be used. As long as the sentence construction, grammar and pronunciation are in place, she believes that any particular accent should be forced. While some would argue with her style of teaching, one cannot deny that the value of respect should not be undermined even in teaching language. I think my sister got this style from my mom. While other moms would have cringed when they heard us talk when we were teenagers, my mom took in a stride. She wasn’t liberated; she just knew when it was time to intervene. She would listen calmly and patiently at the dinner table even when all of us would be in the verge of a huge quarrel sometimes over a petty issue. She didn’t snap or cut the argument; we knew instinctively... Read the rest of this article »

Your Children Want You

Your Children Want You

My friend grew up in a broken home. She had to shuttle every month or so from one house to another. She used to be so hurt and despondent but now she has accepted the arrangement and is quite a jolly person. This is a common scenario nowadays of course. But what is uncommon is how my friend managed to cope up with the situation because it’s a lot more traumatic and damaging for some. “The number of those who report that their “whole family usually eats dinner together” has declined 33 percent. This is most concerning because the time a family spends together “eating meals at home [is] the strongest predictor of children’s academic achievement and psychological adjustment.” Family mealtimes have also been shown to be a strong bulwark against children’s smoking, drinking, or using drugs. There is inspired wisdom in this advice to parents: what your children really want for dinner is you.”I can’t resist quoting this from Good, Better and Best. Going back to my friend’s... Read the rest of this article »

Just for One Night

Just for One Night

It started with my grandfather. He was very strict. His word was law in my mother’s house. And one thing he was especially strict about was eating meals together. My mom got that from him. She was (and still is) very strict when it comes to eating meals together. She believes that eating meals together not only strengthens family relationships but it also inculcates the right values in the especially impressionable minds of children. At the dinner table, food would not be passed without the magic word. This made me remember one incident in the grocery where a kid was on the floor, throwing a tantrum, bawling his lungs out and flailing his arms and legs because he wanted a bag of cookies. His mom was looking on helplessly, biting her lip, unsure of what to do. She ended up grabbing the box of cookies her child wanted. The child smiled smugly, probably secure in the thought that he can get always what he wanted by throwing a tantrum. I shook my head thinking of the thousands, even millions... Read the rest of this article »

Change

Change

“Dad, how much do you make in an hour?” his son asked. “Why are you asking? Go do something else. I’m busy,” the dad replied, barely taking his eyes from the book he was reading. But his son was persistent and he kept on asking the father. Exasperated, he told his son, “I earn $30. Now, do something else and stop bothering me.” But the son looked at him pleadingly and said, “Can I have $30?” The father got angry. “So that ‘s the reason why you’re asking? No, you cannot have $30 and I want you to go to your room!” His son was sobbing as he ran to his room. Later that night, the father felt guilty so he put $30 on his son’s table. Early the next day, his son went to him and placed $30 in his hand. “Now, can  I have one hour of your time?” I’ve always liked this story. It’s a reminder for me to stop, think and reflect how I treat my family. Am I spending time with them or spending money so they can go bother someone else? This reminds me again and again... Read the rest of this article »

How a Dinner Group Changed a Family

How a Dinner Group Changed a Family

Carson was very tired. His boss was pressuring him a lot more lately, he always got into arguments with his wife and his kids weren’t doing well in school. In fact, one teacher called him for a meeting because his daughter was constantly failing her Math quizzes. He was almost at his wits’ end. Then, one day, his wife told him about joining something called a dinner group. She was very excited about it so he permitted her to join without even fully understanding what the group was about. The week after that, her wife started to call all of them for dinner. It wasn’t something they were used to since they seldom  eat dinner together and rather  ate at their own time. But she became quite strict about, telling all of them to come home before dinner. After about two weeks, his kids came home earlier than usual and were less sullen. They also had meaningful conversations around the dinner table. Asking them to do their homework became less of a problem and Carson didn’t get any... Read the rest of this article »

A Bigger Family

A Bigger Family

It’s the season of abundance. It’s a season of smiles. It’s a season of celebration, of reunions, of joy and laughter. Meeting a new year is truly a cause for celebration. But as I was walking down the street, I saw an old man checking the garbage bin. He was moaning quite loudly in fact. I wonder if he had even eaten breakfast. Back at home there was a large table groaning with choicest food. Our dinner group had decided to hold a New Year celebration together. We assigned different meals and even had a small exchange of gifts. It was a fun night. It was a wonderful way to start the year with people who had been like family to us. We had been swapping dinner for about 8 months already and we were very happy with the way things were going. We had a strong and open relationship with our children. Our husbands were loving the home-cooked meals every night. But as we toasted to more years to come for our dinner group the scene I saw on the street stuck in my mind. When we met for the... Read the rest of this article »

Coming Home

Coming Home

I never realized how far apart my family was until someone asked me this question “How come you don’t come over to your parent on Thanksgiving?’ Thanksgiving is the ultimate family reunion in our country. It didn’t matter how busy you were; you dropped everything else and push it to a later date if its Thanksgiving. But it had been years since I last went to my parents house. There was an underlying rift between my father and I but I realized that they were getting old plus my kids whined about seeing grandma and grandpa lately. I called my brother and my two sisters and told them we should meet on Thanksgiving. They all agreed and wisely refrained from asking my change of heart. I was actually looking forward to seeing them after so many years and whatever hurts I harbored against them were erased with time. When Thanksgiving came, we were the first to arrive at my parent’s house and we thought we would catch them in surprise. But they looked as if they expected our arrival.... Read the rest of this article »

Dinner Groups and the Society

Dinner Groups and the Society

The family is the basic unit of society. It is what makes up the community. And communities make up the nation. It’s no wonder some nations are crumbling and some societies are getting debased because the basic unit of the society degraded as well. We need not recount experiences of quote figures to prove this point because it is too evident around us. One of the goals of having a dinner group is to make sure that families reconnect through eating dinner together, everyday. Having a dinner group makes it more convenient and easier for you to meet this goal. In Mealtime is Quality Time you read how important eating meals together is to a closer relationship with your family. Here we recount some more reasons for its importance: Quantity time is quality time. The more time we spend with our children, the more they become close to us. Therefore, eating together with them is time well spent. Open lines of communication. When we’re closer to our kids, they’re bound to be more expressive... Read the rest of this article »

Mealtime is Family Time

Mealtime is Family Time

Research has proven it. Experience has long supported it. Eating meals together, as a family, improves the communication lines and strengthens family relationships. It is small wonder why our kids now are so different in terms of attitude, dress, and speech to the kids decades ago. “Teens who regularly [and frequently] haves meals with their family are less likely to get into fights, think about suicide, smoke, drink, [or] use drugs,” (Child Trends, 2005, p. 1) and there’s a bigger chance that they will do better in school. But nowadays, children and even parents give reasons why they don’t eat together.  Differences in food preference, a hectic schedule, need for independence and unhappy relations with family members are just some of the reasons they cite on why they cannot eat meals together. But given all the advantages of family togetherness in mealtimes, these reasons shouldn’t be made an excuse. Its about setting our priorities straight. Eating even just one meal together... Read the rest of this article »

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