Sharing dinner with family beneficial to personal development

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By Adriana F. De Leon

Families who spend more quality time with their children tend to have better relationships.

Research has shown that positive parental involvement results in the child being less likely to experience behavioral problems in life.

According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, families who frequently eat dinner together have children who are less likely to participate in gangs and do not smoke and drink or use drugs.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse introduced Family Day in 2001.

Family Day is celebrated every year on Sept. 24 and encourages parents to frequently eat dinner with their children and be involved in their children’s lives, according to the NCASA Web site.

Even though Family Day has passed, the Web site still emphasizes the importance of parental involvement in their children’s lives on a daily basis.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse goal is to prevent children from abusing substances and stresses the importance of family dinners.

A family meal is perfect for discussing different topics that children have on their minds. Communication within the family teaches children important values and emphasizes the importance of a stable and loving relationship between parents and children, Xochitl Cortez-Davis, director of communication and marketing for Family Service Association, said.

“Communication teaches families how to communicate and trust each other,” she said.

Flexibility is very important for a family to have because working together as a team helps build a strong bond and a unity, which is beneficial for the children, she said.

Family Service Association of San Antonio is a private, nonprofit and nonsectarian agency offering parenting education classes; counseling; homemaking, organizing and parenting effectiveness; helping children cope with divorce; and helping families build a stronger relationship.

The U.S. Census Bureau Web site provided some examples of how parents could interact with their children, such as family dinners, giving praise and playing together.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported 79 percent of children under 6 were more likely to eat dinner with parents and children older than 6 were less likely to have meals with their parents during a typical week.

Seventy-three percent of children age 6 to 11 participated in family dinners every day.

The report also found that teens were less likely to sit at the dinner table with the family than children younger than 6. During dinner, parents can interact and praise their children.

Families who spend time together help children develop a strong character by providing love and guidance, Cortez-Davis said.

By being aware of children’s whereabouts and activities, parents help children grow into successful adults.


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