Larry Bleiberg, who formerly wrote about education and the Dallas Independent School District for The Dallas Morning News, said a survey showed that teenagers who regularly share meals with their families are three times more likely to say their home life is happy and close most of the time than teens who do not have meals with their families.
He also said that the frequent diners are more satisfied with their prospects for the future than classmates who rarely eat with their families. They are twice as likely to devote long hours to homework and much less likely to have premarital sex or consider suicide.
The survey of high school students was conducted by Who's Who Among American High School Students. "When a family has dinner together, they're doing a lot more than eating," said Paul Krouse, founder and publisher of the publication, which honors high-achieving teens. "They're really sharing their lives. They're demonstrating an interest in each other." The survey, taken in the spring of 1995, is based on responses from 3,351 teenagers who had A or B averages and were considered high achievers. Other surveys have had similar results.
Actually, it's not that involved. Two, three or four times a week of eating together can make a difference, whether it's Sunday brunch, Saturday lunch or Friday night dinner. This is a routine that is very, very good to put in place.
Bleiberg points out that at mealtime, parents can find out about their children's problems or worries. Likewise, children get a better understanding of their parents when everyone shares about their daily lives. Krause concluded: "We don't have any statistics that tell us that single-parent families are going to perform worse. A single mom or a single dad can accomplish an awful lot." See you at the top!
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