Last week it emerged that the health and behaviour of teenage children can be improved by making sure they eat with family at meal times.
According to a new study carried out by the ‘US National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse’, teenagers who ate a family dinner at the table 5 to 7 times a week were 4 times less likely to smoke, drink or take drugs than teenagers who ate with the family less than 3 times a week.
So how could something as simple as tucking into a family-sized lasagna with parents a few times a week stop a curious adolescent from wanting to smoke marijuana or drink with friends?
According to a number of studies, spending dinner time discussing friends, problems and school-life with teenagers is far more productive than eating in front of the TV. When young people know that their lives and opinions are valued by their parents, they can develop a stronger sense of self-worth and are often less likely to want to take drugs, drink or smoke.
Similarly, the results of a recent UK study showed that children who dined with their parents more than 3 times a week reported higher levels of happiness than those who didn’t.
Dr Maris Iacovou, a researcher based at the University of Essex, said: “contrary to the popular belief that children only want to spend time playing video games or watching TV, we found that they were most happy when interacting with their parents or siblings.”
WebMD advises parents to spend as much free time with their children as possible. Spending time as a family could help build trust and mutual-respect between children and parents, possibly reducing the chance of teenagers seeking comfort elsewhere (often in the form of drugs and alcohol).
If you are struggling to build a good relationship with your teenager for any reason at all, you may wish to talk to a life coach. A life coach can offer support and advise and help you to achieve the goals you have in mind. You can find a life coach near you by visiting the Life Coach Directory.
Visit the original Independent article here.