By CATHY BROWNFIELD
Family Recovery Center
Every parent can be a STAR. An opportunity is coming up on Sept. 27, but a wise parent won't wait until then. Parents can get started right now. Today.
Many activities interfered with family meal time over the years, but it's reported that the family dinner tradition is coming back. Join Together Online says, "More U.S. families are making a point of sitting down for dinner together, a trend that pleases youth drug-prevention experts who see such family connections as a buffer against addiction problems."
Kids who eat with their families are less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, have less stress, eat better and get better grades I school, research shows.
It may not be easy to get everyone together at the dinner table, but it is worth the effort to strengthen your family and your family ties.
"Although it may seem a simple and old-fashioned activity," advises The Ohio State University Extension, "taking time out for family meals has a lot of hidden benefits." Studies reveal parents believe eating meals together is important, but today's society makes that a difficult challenge.
What are some of the benefits of family suppers at home? Food is likely to be healthier: more fruits and vegetables, less fried food and soda, less saturated and trans fatty acids, lower glycemic load, more fiber and macronutrients from food, the OSU Extension says.
Research bears out that family meals are important in promoting good dietary habits and advises that home cooking leads to "greater confidence, cooking skills and healthier food choices."
Bonding between family members takes place when families eat meals together.
"When families eat dinner together parents can teach their children table manners, social skills, family values, a sense of community and basic cooking skills," the Extension advises.
Meal times are opportunities for discussion, not arguments that allow everyone a chance to express opinions and interpretations of current events, local activities, and individual interests, to share a bit of ourselves with others and feel like we fit in, belong somewhere.
Family meals should be a priority. These often are the only times a family is all together. Everyone needs that feeling of connectedness.
Shut off the TV, cell phones, radio and anything else that might impose on family time. And remember that mealtime is not the time for conflict or discipline. "It's bad for the digestion."
The Family Day eating dinner together event, established in 2001 by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA), is set for Sept. 27 so you have plenty of time to plan a special supper for that day.
You also have enough time to practice and form the habit of your family sitting down together for some good quality time daily.
For more information about the dinner event, visit www.casafamilyday.org.
Family Recovery Center promotes the well being of individuals, families and communities with education, prevention and treatment programs related to substance abuse. For more information on this topic or about our services, contact FRC at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org. FRC is funded, in part, by United Way of Northern Columbiana County.