Thursday, July 06, 2006

Can't be true

Still trying to get caught up on my Time magazine. I'm reading the June 12th edition (yay! I'm only four issues behind now!) In this issue there is a special report on Eating Smart. I haven't gotten very far into it but I already felt the need to comment on it. The first article is called 'The Magic of the Family Meal'. It's touting the benefits of families that regularly eat meals together, but having read what the "experts in adolescent development" have to say, my response is...it can't possibly be true.

According to these experts and their studies, "the more families eat together, the less likely kids are to smoke, drink, do drugs, get depressed, develop eating disorders and consider suicide, and the more likely they are to do well in school, delay having sex, eat their vegetables, learn big words and know which fork to use". Um ok. Where'd they get the data to spew off this bullshit? Is this from a survey they did in the 50's & 60's while visions of June Cleaver danced merrily in their heads?

My family ate dinner together almost every single night, it was expected of us. I drank, smoked, was depressed, tried suicide, had sex all before the age of 16. I certainly didn't learn any big words from being at the dinner table, that I can guarantee you. My oldest brother smoked, drank, did drugs, was depressed and refused to eat vegetables. He also dropped out of school at 16. My older sister..well, she actually does fit that mold of what the experts say, but she's the screwiest of the bunch. My other brother smoked, drank, did drugs, did poorly in school, also refused to eat veggies and probably still doesn't know any big words to this day. My youngest sister drank, did drugs, had sex (& got pregnant), did poorly in school and also doesn't know any big words. She too dropped out of school, just four months shy of graduating.

I don't think it's so much having meals as a family that predicts future behaviours, but rather the closeness of the family and the openness of the discussions. My daughter and I have open discussions about everything and anything...even had one about this article just a little while ago. But then again, we have them all day long, not just at meal times.

I do have a few rules instituted for dinner time though. No tv, unless it's something important (aka another terrorist attack on US soil), if the phone rings we answer and tell whoever it is we're eating dinner and they'll get a call back later, you eat what was made for the whole family because this isn't a restaurant or you can go hungry for awhile and have a healthy snack later on, and finally, no topic of conversation is taboo. We eat dinner together about 80% of the time, during the summer it's a little less frequent because she's busy with her friends.

Think the "experts" need to review their study results and look at what real data can be obtained from them.

3 Comments:

Blogger ECLIPSE said...

You're right about it not just being about the meals and being more about the relationships ... but the guess is that ppl who do share meals together as a family are perhaps more likely to be "together" in other respects as a group.

6:03 AM, July 07, 2006  
Blogger sansanity said...

sid can i just say i love your take on things. i love reading your opinions. not only do you amuse the hell out of me, but you do truely give me something to think about.

i agree with eclipse that the dinner thing sometimes points to fasmilies that have good relationships. my mother and i never ate together. we never existed in the same space even when we lived in a 1 bedroom apartment.

9:52 PM, July 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never ate with my family and i did do very poorly in school, drinking and well i was just a mess but i did put off sex until i was 22.
my problems had nothing to do with not eating with my family but it was because of our fucked up messes that we didnt eat together.

Billy

1:14 AM, July 08, 2006  

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