With an almost 6 year old and a husband who commutes from Manhattan to NJ for work it's often difficult for us to eat together. I can't even imagine what it will be like when the girl is a teenager flitting from one activity to another. I feel guilty enough that sometimes dinner isn't as nutritionally sound as I'd like it to be. Or that we wolf down dinner in 15 minutes in order to get everything done before bedtime. Or that I'm just as happy eating a bowl of cereal by myself after the kid goes to bed. We make an effort to eat together as often as possible but sometimes it's just, well, impossible.
Now a new study from from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University can add to the pressure. The study finds (as we've all heard before) that dining together as a family is a positive influence. In families where they eat dinner together 5x a week, as compared to those who dine together just 3x a week, adolescents were less likely to abuse alcohol and drugs.
I'm all for families eating together. My family ate together nearly every night when my brother and I were growing up but it was a different time then. Schools, offices, businesses, college admissions panels and the like need to realize that in order for families to enjoy a leisurely, nutritional and productive dinner together the pressures of daily life have to decrease and I don't see that happening any time soon.
An interesting read nonetheless. You can check out the NYT's take on it here.
*Note: Picture is of the Bambu fork and spoon set which can be purchased here.