Studies indicate family dinners keep families close

Place+setting+for+family+dinner.++A+study+conducted+by+Conagra+Foods+stated+40%25+of+American+families+eat+together+at+least+three+times+a+week.+Photo+by+K.+Angle

Place setting for family dinner. A study conducted by Conagra Foods stated 40% of American families eat together at least three times a week. Photo by K. Angle

BY KILEY ANGLE & ABBEY WILKS

Family dinners have reached a decline. In 1997, 16% of American families ate dinner together less than three times a week, while in 2013, 21% of American families at dinner together less than three time a week.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA Columbia) released an article in 2012 about the importance of family relationships. The study mentioned the importance of relationships from parent to parent, child to child and parent to child.  In the article, CASA Columbia surveyed thousands of American teens and their parents.

“I am a lot closer with my siblings than my parents,” Madison Bliss, 9, said. “Mainly because they are easier to talk too. We all talk about school, soccer and a bunch of other stuff.”

The study focused primarily on teenagers and parental relationships, while another major factor is relationships with siblings. An article released in 2011 by Psychologies, mentioned how a sibling relationship is likely to be the most enduring of our lives. The impact they have on our young lives is enormous.

“I feel it’s important to have a relationship with your parents because they support you throughout your life,” Wyatt Edwards, 11, said. “As I’ve grown up I’ve noticed I am a lot closer to my dad.”

CASA Columbia’s study followed the teens who focus on ‘family time.’ One of the more specific events followed family dinners. Their results showed that teens who had five to seven family dinners a week were more likely to have high-quality relationships with their parents, while those who had two or fewer family dinners a week were almost one and a half times more likely to have a relationship with their mother than their father.

“Each week my family tries to go out to dinner Saturday nights,” Alex Epp, 11, said. “This doesn’t always happen because of how much my dad travels but, we try.”

The results of CASA Columbia’s study lead to teens having substance abuse issues. Such as, those with a excellent relationship with their mother and father had little to no substance abuse, while those who have a lesser relationship with their father are almost four times more likely to have used marijuana, twice as likely to use alcohol but those who had a lesser relationship with their mother are three times more likely to use alcohol and two and a half times more likely to abuse alcohol.

“I feel like I am a lot closer to my dad,” Ashley Slaughter, 11, said. “Being closer to my dad makes me more independent.”

Place setting for family dinner. A study conducted by Conagra Foods stated 40% of American families eat together at least three times a week. Photo by K. Angle