Family Meals and Your Children's Well-Being

Eating together as a family has slowly become a neglected practice in the Philippines. Gone are the days when parents and children converge at their dinner tables and share stories. exchange laughter and recall memorable life experiences. What used to be a venue to nurture, give guidance and impart values is now nothing more than a thing of the past, depriving today's youth of the bountiful benefits of shared meals.

The Filipino's current lifestyle and needs have contributed to this change. Dual income household, demand for longer work hours and varied activities (homework, sports, music, dance, meetings, etc.) are among the things that cause the De-prioritization of family togetherness during meals. In effect, the guidance and nurturance that children need have also been de-prioritized. Without these, children are more likely to give into social pressures in the form of drinking, smoking and using illegal drugs.

Dinner is a perfect time to connect with your family on a daily basis. Asking your children about their day talking about yours, shows your kids that you love them and demonstrates that you are there to listen to them. If you make it a habit of staying engaged in your children's lives and communicating with them now, your children will be more willing to talk to you when they start feeling the pressure from their peers to start experimenting with cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal drugs. Research consistently finds that the more often children eat dinner with their family, the likelier they are to get better grades and the less likely they are to smoke, drink and use drugs.

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