This article does an excellent job explaining what really happens at the dinner table. Most people expect dinner with a family to be fun and joyful, but often times it is not. This is not a time where the family forgets all the problems they’ve been facing. This being said, most families use this time to discuss the very problems that will cause arguments and fights. If you are stuck at the table then the parents can berate the children with unwanted questions about school and other activities. Unfortunately, being at the table you are unable to leave because you were drawn there with food and many families, as stated in the article, eat together on a regular basis.
These negative feelings towards eating dinner with one’s family may start to intrude to other parts of their life. If you are consistently yelled at while you eat dinner you may equate that to different times of the day when you are eating such as breakfast or lunch. Kids may not want to eat lunch at school in fear that they will be forced to argue with those they sit with. As a student that sort of feeling may start to isolate you from your previously friendly group.
When i was back at home, we barely ate meals with each other. Both my parents worked fairly extensive hours and i was in daycare or had au pairs that lived with us for periods of time. Meals were generally spent in front of TV’s or computers. Every now and then we would eat together and it would be a big meal with all sorts of food. The food was always good and nutritious, but my brothers and I would always be talking about something that my parents had no idea about. If they brought up the subject of school we would instantly become quiet or attempt to avoid the discussion. It wasn’t because we were bad students, but we just understood that our parents could always find some reason we were at fault for something that happened at school, whether it be a bad test grade or not participating in extracurricular activities.
As I was reading this article I began to think about my own family experiences around the dinner table. All of them are pleasant, but a majority of them are centered around the television. My dad always talked about how as a child his mother would invite his entire family over for dinner every night and how he missed that feeling. Oddly enough, he is usually the one who will turn the television on first thing and won’t say a word throughout the meal unless it pertains to the show. My mom and I use to turn the television off on my dad so that dinner could be the time to tell everyone about your day, but that didn’t go over so well. So now my mom and I just talk over the television about whatever comes to mind. Not a perfect family meal at all, but we still give each other the opportunity outside of dinner to come to one another and talk about whatever need be. From this example, the article was right when it hinted that throughout the years some things that were the norm and maybe even a necessity way back when no longer have the same desired feeling. The article argued a lot about happy family meals linking to a decrease in alcohol and drug abuse. I find myself disagreeing with this statement and agreeing more so that the decrease starts within a family that has well communication skills and trust. Families shouldn’t only have dinner time to open up with their love ones, but any time they please no matter what the activity at hand may be. I have witnessed plenty of friends who’s families have forced them to eat dinner together and right after their meal the child or even parent for that sake feels so overwhelmed that they lean towards alcohol or drugs for an escape. The article stated an incident where the father would complain about the daughters weight, forcing her to eat less around him and then binge eat behind closed doors. Maybe the father thought he was doing what was right, but bottom line he was only making his daughter less healthy and more overweight. Family dinners shouldn’t be the time where negative feelings flood the table, those feelings should be left at the door. Families should stop worrying about the ideal happy family meal and concentrate more on getting to understand their family members. I’m not saying that happy family meals do not exist, I applaud the ones that do. On the other hand, the ones that struggle with this need to be given deeper thought.
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