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Scottsdale, AZ 85250 United Way # 0077
Scottsdale Prevention Institute (SPI) Urges Families to
Bring Back Family Dinners
Frequent Family Dinners are Linked to Better Grades for Teens and Reduced Risk for Substance Abuse
SPI is highlighting a study originally published by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA), "The Importance of Family Dinners". CASA’s research shows that "the more often children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs and the better they perform in school". Visit http://www.casacolumbia.org/ for more information.
CASA’s research also highlights that, "Frequent family dining is correlated with doing well in school and developing healthy eating habits." The survey found that frequent family dinners were associated with better school performance, with teens 40% more likely to get A’s and B’s. A Harvard study also found that family dinners were the most important family events in helping children develop language skills.
CASA’s most recent study compared two specific groups: teenagers who have two or less family dinners per week and those who have five or more per week.
Those Who Ate Two or Less Family Dinners Were:
- Three times more likely to try marijuana
- Two-and-a-half times more likely to smoke cigarettes
- One-and-a-half times more likely to drink alcohol
Ten Benefits of Family Dinners:
- At half the risk for substance abuse compared to teens who eat with their families less frequently
- More likely to get better grades
- Less likely to have friends who use illicit drugs
- More likely to have lower levels of tension and stress in the home
- More likely to say that their parents were proud of them
- More emotionally stable
- More likely to have positive relationships
- More likely to have healthier eating habits
- Less likely to contemplate suicide
- Less likely to try marijuana or have friends who do
The Challenge for Busy Families
CASA’s research confirms the notion that shared dinners make for stronger families. The problem is that between after-school activity schedules and parents’ busy work schedules, making connections within the family requires a concerted effort.
SPI Offers the Following Suggestions:
- Make family dinners a requirement
- Involve your teenagers in all phases of the meal
- Make meals enjoyable
- Ask open-ended questions to get your teens talking
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