eating dinner as a family

I may have mentioned before that David and I have struggled for all time with preparing and serving regular meals. I never developed any skill in cooking, and I know that my fear of failure in the kitchen – failure that, I might add, is a frequent occurrence – has definitely hampered my ability to buckle down to regular cooking. Add in some family dynamics about whose responsibility for shopping, cooking and cleaning is whose, and dinner time often leads to an every-man-for-himself “grazing” extravaganza.

This has bummed me out over the years. I know, without a doubt, that all three of us would be healthier if we ate better.

Last week, I read an interesting article about families who eat dinner together. “When families dine together,” the article states, “they tend to eat more vegetables and fruits — and fewer fried foods, soda, and foods with trans fats, research shows. When younger kids frequently eat dinner with their families, they are less likely to be overweight than other children.”

I feel guilty. I feel like I have been a bad mom to Quinland. I am resolved to step up to the plate, and I can only hope that these next few years have a positive impact on all of us. I’ve broken out my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker – which I have owned for years and never used – and have made some excellent chicken stews. Pop everything in, cook 30 minutes – foolproof and tasty. (No, I’m not a Pampered Chef consultant, but this thing is awesome!)

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Still, I must say, the article kind of cheered me up in another way. It identified these benefits of dining together as well:

  • Kids are more likely to stay away from cigarettes.
  • They’re less likely to drink alcohol.
  • They won’t likely try marijuana.
  • They’re less likely to use illicit drugs.
  • Friends won’t likely abuse prescription drugs.
  • School grades will be better.
  • You and your kids will talk more.
  • You’ll be more likely to hear about a serious problem.
  • Kids will feel like you’re proud of them.
  • There will be less stress and tension at home.

These effects, I surmise, come from the positive, one-on-one interaction that occurs around the dinner table, from open communication between parents and their children. I’m happy to say that – regardless of our haphazard eating habits – we have plenty of that quality time with Quinland, and I believe we have reaped all those benefits. She is an awesome, awesome, awesome kid… she has amazing, supportive, friends who are all awesome kids… and they all get good grades (and stay away from substance abuse!).

Whew! I’m not a bad mom, after all – just a bad cook… and I am getting better every day.

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2 thoughts on “eating dinner as a family

  1. Maybe a little late for this comment but, I am not so sure all families have great sit down dining experiences. When I was younger and my parents were separated my dad lived downstairs my mom and I lived upstairs and we all ate together. The tension was awful. I started a new habit of rubbing my wrists raw on the sharp edge of the table. I was six. It took till 7th/8th grade for me to break the habit. I would do the wrist rub anytime I was in a stressful situation. Talking to people, public speaking. I would do run them on the side of my pants on my hips. although I didn’t and haven’t done any drugs besides prescriptions nor did I try cigarettes. So maybe, something did come out of those stressful anxiety stricken dinners. I do have my bouts of unknown anxiety but who knows if that stemmed from the dinner table.

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    1. Oh, hon! Somehow I missed this comment or I would have replied earlier. It’s so sad how those family dynamics affect kids. It’s really a testimony to what an awesome person you are that you had to deal with all that and still turned out to be so amazing. I definitely have issues stemming from mealtimes when we had to live with my aunt and uncle growing up (about the same ages, too – 3rd grade, 6th-8th grade). I guess we learned how we don’t want to be to our own kids, huh?

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