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Family Dining Is a Factor In Teen Drug & Alcohol Use

Food and Dining

Family Dining Is a Factor In Teen Drug & Alcohol Use

The amount of time your teen spends in a “Family Dining” setting could influence their chances of dabbling into drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana.  Teens who have infrequent family dinners are more likely to be able to get alcohol, prescription drugs or marijuana in an hour or less. In contrast, teens who have frequent family dinners are more likely to report having no access to such drugs.

Frequent dinners are 5 or more per week whereas infrequent dinners are 3 or less.

Teens who have infrequent family dinners are almost two-and-a-half times likelier to report that their parents do not regularly make time to check in with them.

If you’re thinking about sitting down with your child for 5 minutes to satisfy your “Family Dining” requirement, think again. The length of the dinner matters as well.

To qualify for the “frequent” category, it’s best to spend at least 20-30 minutes eating dinner with your teen and be nosy.

Other benefits of eating with your teens:

Communication and Well-Being

Conversations during the meal provide opportunities for the family to bond, plan, connect, and learn from one another. It’s a chance to share information and news of the day, as well as give extra attention to your children and teens. Family meals foster warmth, security and love, as well as feelings of belonging. It can be a unifying experience for all.

Model Manners (and more)

Family mealtime is the perfect opportunity to display appropriate table manners, meal etiquette, and social skills. Keep the mood light, relaxed, and loving. Try not to instruct or criticize—lead by example.

Expand Their World…One Food at a Time

Encourage your children to try new foods, without forcing, coercing, or bribing. Introduce a new food along with some of the stand-by favorites. Remember that it can take 8-10 exposures to a new food before it is accepted, so be patient. Trying a new food is like starting a new hobby. It expands your child’s knowledge, experience, and skill.


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