Family dinners may help prevent teen substance abuse

Family dinners may help prevent teen substance abuse

In this fast-paced world, spending quality time with family members can be a far-fetched dream for many. However, one must understand that spending quality time together helps a person to form strong bonds with his or her partner and children. The best way to keep in touch with the family member is to eat together on a regular basis. In fact, family dinners help in easing communication between different family members, apart from helping to get along with others.

While the average American is increasingly finding it difficult to make time for dinner considering the busy schedule, having family dinners two to three times a week is found to help parents keep track of their children’s activities both in and out of school. It also helps in ensuring that all family members eat healthy.

Family dinners strengthens parent-child relationship

Family dinners go a long way in strengthening parent-child relationship, which could be a significant deterrent to teen substance abuse in the long run. Whether it be alcohol or other illegal drugs, teens are more likely to get into the devastating habit of addiction if they are cut off from their parents.

According to Margie Skeer, assistant professor at Tufts University School of Medicine, family dinners are important for several critical reasons. They help in creating an atmosphere that is conducive for conversation between family members. They also enable the development of trust. Children are more likely to share secrets with parents, talk about their peers abusing alcohol and drugs, and the confusion that they face deciding whether or not to partake in substance abuse, in informal sessions like family dinners. It is also easier to identify problem behavior in children that are sometimes a result of substance abuse.

Informal family dinners are when parents can talk about their own experiences with alcohol or drugs. Also, dinners are the best time to discuss the kind of friend circle the child has and whether or not they are influencing the teen in the right way.

Role of positive parenting in substance abuse prevention

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), parents can play a vital role in preventing children from giving in to the pressures of drug and alcohol abuse. As reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), underage drinking is a common phenomenon in America. The 2015 Monitoring the Future Survey (MTF) reported that 10 percent of eighth graders and 35 percent of twelfth graders drank during 30 days prior to the survey.

The Child and Family Center at the University of Oregon came up with a set of five questions to assess the effectiveness of in addressing problems as complex as teenage substance abuse. The questions covering everyday skills, such as communication, encouragement, negotiation, setting limits and supervision are as follows:

  • Are parents able to communicate calmly and clearly with their children regarding relationship problems?
  • Do parents motivate their children to display positive behaviors on a daily basis?
  • Are parents able to resolve emotional conflicts with their teenage kids?
  • Are parents adept at setting limits pertaining to serious behavioral issues such as drug use?
  • Do parents keep an eye on their children to ensure that they do not spend a lot of unsupervised time with peers?

Seeking family-based interventions to control teen alcohol abuse

In case planning family dinners together becomes a problem, parents can utilize breakfast or regular family outings for familiarizing themselves with their children’s day-to-day activities. Thus, family-based intervention is the best way to tackle the problem of alcohol and substance abuse.

If you or your loved one is trying to overcome alcohol addiction, contact the Alcohol Addiction Helpline of California to find the best alcohol addiction treatment centers in California. Call our 24/7 helpline number 855-980-1715 or chat online for further information on the finest alcohol rehab centers in California.

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