A link between family meals and adolescent development?

Filed under: Activities: Babies

A recent study examined associations between family meal frequency and developmental assets and high-risk behaviors among a national sample of adolescents. Anonymous surveys were distributed to 99,462 sixth to 12th grade students from public and alternative schools in 213 cities and 25 states across the United States. Logistic regression analyses tested differences in assets and high-risk behaviors by family dinner frequency. Consistently positive associations were found between the frequency of family dinners and all developmental assets, including both external (e.g., support, boundaries and expectations and internal assets (e.g., commitment to learning, positive values, social competencies, and positive identity. Relationships were attenuated, but remained significant after adjusting for demographics and general family communication and support. Consistent inverse relationships were found between the frequency of family dinners and all high-risk behaviors measured (i.e., substance use, sexual activity, depression/suicide, antisocial behaviors, violence, school problems, binge eating/purging, and excessive weight, relationships which were attenuated, but remained significant after adjusting for demographics and family factors. The frequency of family dinner is an external developmental asset or protective factor that may curtail high-risk behaviors among youth.

I agree with this study. Sitting down at the table for a civilized meal creates a ritual of respect, conversation and sharing that are soften missing from the daily grind of our busy lives. It is sometimes difficult to convince your teen that sitting down to eat and converse is a positive thing, but it is well worth the effort.

ReaderComments (Page 1 of 1)

FollowUs

Flickr RSS

TheTalkies

AskAdviceMama

AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.