Family dinners are more important than we think


Magdalene Halikias

At Summer House, in Chicago, families and friends can be seen talking and conversing with each other.

I have little brothers who are both five and because of our age difference it’s hard to spend time together. With school, homework, and practice there’s little free time on weekdays, and when I do have free time on weekends I prefer to spend it with my friends. So, I’m left with little time for my brothers. I feel bad, because I’m leaving for college soon and I won’t see them, along with the rest of my family.

But when I’m sitting at the dinner table laughing with my little brothers, this qualm fades away. I feel solace because although I usually can’t go out and play soccer with them or watch a movie with them, we spend quality time together at dinner. Because of this, I think family dinner is important. And based on my observations, it’s lacking today.

The most important reason for family dinners is the obvious one: more family time. High school life is busy as the majority of time is spent away from home, at school or at a sport. Having family dinner gives time to catch up and strengthen family bonds which most agree is valuable.

There’s a stereotype that adolescence is a time when people prefer to be away from their parents locked up in their room or out with their friends. While this is true for many, even people I know, there are many who don’t fit the stereotype. They realize how important family time is and how family dinner is an essential part of that.

“Family is important, and for a lot of people [family dinner is] the one time everyone can be together,” said Emmit Flynn, senior.

Teens that eat dinner are getting more benefits from family dinner than they think. According to a study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), students who do not eat with their families are more prone to truancy. Kids who do not eat with their family are also 40 percent more likely to suffer from obesity. This is because the dinner is thought out and home cooked, as opposed to rushed and unhealthy.

I’m now nearing the end of high school, so I can begin to take a look at things in retrospect. Looking back at my last few years, I can say that family dinner is one of the highlights. Coming home to talk to my family about what I learned at school, what I did at practice, or anything in between is what I’ll miss most when I leave for college. Dinner keeps my family and I close, it strengthens our bond.

I understand that there are situations where family dinner isn’t even possible. For example, financial difficulties may prevent the purchase of ingredients for a home cooked dinner. Some families have parents that work at nights, too. But if not dinner, then an effort should still be made to do something as a family. Some examples are board games and movies. But for those who do have have family dinner as a possibility, I highly recommend it.