Having dinner as a family is good for your kids… and the menu is only part of the story.
Do you set (and observe) family rules and rituals? Try to set an example that reflects your spiritual values? Eat dinner together most nights?
Yes? Congratulations: you’ve already taken important steps to help prevent substance abuse and other high-risk teen behavior in your teens. And although that sounds like common sense, there’s plenty of research to back it up.
According the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) teens who have dinner with their families at least five nights a week are almost twice as likely to do well in school. Teens who earn A’s and B’s are at half the risk (of substance abuse) as those who receive grades of ‘C’ or lower.
The ‘frequent diners’ polled were also significantly less likely to have tried cigarettes, marijuana or alcohol.
I may have a somewhat biased point of view but doesn’t this structure, spirit and connection sound a bit like the Four Foundations?
- Work hard
- Refuse to fail
- Develop discipline and
- Give to others
Unfortunately, when it comes to preventing any illness, there are no iron-clad guarantees. Addiction (to alcohol and other drugs) is a brain disorder. Good parenting can perhaps swing the odds in your child’s favor, just like proper diet and exercise can improve our odds against obesity, heart disease or diabetes.
Managing risk factors improves the odds. And you get to have dinner with the people you love most, too!