Family Meals Can Lead to Better Parent-Teen Communication
This one simple step can improve your relationship with your teenager.
Many parents struggle with maintaining open communication with their teenagers. Fox News investigated a new study that suggests an easy routine that could increase better communication and relationships with children as they transition into adults. The solution is as simple as having dinner together as a family.
Family schedules are filled with school functions, sports games, piano lessons, and work meetings but finding the time to sit down to eat together is easier said than done. But the busyness of life should not discourage parents from setting this goal because the lasting impact is well worth it.
Fox News reported that the study involved 5,000 middle school students from the Chicago area. The students were asked several questions regarding dinnertime and communication, such as how often did they have dinner-together as a family, how often did their parents talk to them for more than ten minutes at a time, and how frequently do their parents ask about their grades and give recognition of accomplishments. The results led to the conclusion that the junior high students who ate with their parents and sustained communication daily maintained a consistent level of communication into their teen years. This study also found that even if this routine doesn’t last into a child’s high school years, having dinner with children at a young age plays a huge role in creating a healthy relationship between a parent and their child. In other words the earlier parents start having dinners as a family the greater chance that they will be involved in their children’s lives as they become adults and begin their own families.
The reason why having dinner together as a family is so essential is because it opens up the opportunity for parents to be involved in their children’s lives. And the best way to be involved is through showing an interest in their daily activities, such as asking about their classes at school, getting excited about their interests and hobbies and encouraging them when they have struggles. Jayne Fulkerson one of the researchers for this study recommended avoiding topics that may lead to confrontation such as grades and homework but keep up to date on what is going on in a child’s life. When parents ask questions and encourage their kids on a daily basis it shows children that parents are not only their authority but also someone who they can trust and not be afraid to come to for advice and counsel.
Parents only get one precious opportunity to raise their children and cultivate bonds between them. By taking advantage of every opportunity to communicate with children from an early age, parents can create trusting relationships with their children that will last for a lifetime.