The Importance of Family Dinners

Scott Winship and Thomas O’Rourke writing for Institute for Family Studies note that while across a variety of indicators, social capital in America is deteriorating, one trend appears to be cutting across conventional wisdom—gathering the family around the dinner table. Some research even finds that frequently eating family meals can reduce a child’s likelihood of substance use, violence, and other anti-social behaviors later in life. Of course, regularly eating together promotes family closeness and affection.

As Winship and O’Rourke point out, family dinners offer an especially valuable chance for family members to come together to share the day’s highs and lows, discuss personal issues, current events, and big questions of the day, and generally enjoy each other’s company. This is an investment with huge short and long-term returns for families.

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