• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Family Fact Infographic: Be Thankful for Family Meals

    This Thanksgiving, American families will gather around plump turkeys and homemade stuffing to share good food and good conversation with loved ones and family members. The benefits of the quality time families spend together over the Thanksgiving feast can go well beyond the last slice of pumpkin pie.

    As a brand new chart on Heritage’s FamilyFacts.org shows, sharing meals with family members can mean much more than full stomachs and plentiful leftovers. Teens who eat dinner five or more times per week with their families are at least half as likely to have used tobacco, alcohol, or marijuana as those who attend family dinners two or fewer times a week. Teens who frequently break bread with family members are also less likely to report a desire to try drugs or alcohol or have friends who use them.

    The social benefits of increasing family time extend well beyond the kitchen table. As a FamilyFacts.org brief points out, mothers who frequently communicate with their children and fathers who regularly make time for family leisure activities can influence their children’s academic success. Families who spend time together through religious practice can also strengthen familial bonds. Children whose families regularly participate in religious activities are more likely to report seeing displays of affection between their parents. Likewise, parents of families who attend religious services together are more aware of their children’s social circles.

    As families gather tomorrow to give thanks for a multitude of blessings, policymakers should express their own gratitude for the most effective social program in the nation: strong families. From decreasing risky teenage behavior to increasing children’s academic success, intact married families are integral to maintaining a thriving civil society.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    3 Responses to Family Fact Infographic: Be Thankful for Family Meals

    1. Bobbie says:

      get Ritalin out of children's daily routine. it destroys the minds natural development and anyone with common sense knows this. speaking of ritalin what are the ratios of recipients according to nationality? ritalin is more powerful than some street drugs and if anything is a gateway to drugs it's one drug prescribed that'll lead to more that aren't. government ties have to stop promoting drugs!! with proper qualified handling, the mind disciplines without DRUGS! don't poison your children because of outside influence. kids haven't changed, the teachers ability to discipline has. more guilt-ed in offending by correcting, then the stand on correcting! kids can toughen up to overcome any offense in correcting undisciplined behavior.
      sorry… totally agree that meals with family builds a bond of togetherness and dignity towards each other that school meals don't encourage and actually put down the family by saying you're not good enough we'll feed your kids for you! dismissing parental responsibility and taking away parental control. who benefits? the parents might think they're saving themselves the responsibility to the expense of providing meals to their children, it's an unfortunate illusion! NOBODY but government truly benefits! and your children are missing out ON YOU!! that's parental neglect induced by unconstitutional government tax paid offerings!
      …government has it's place, the overreach is unacceptable and intolerable…sorry again for going off…

    2. My family is clear evidence of this, they are social icons who prove this message. They are strong in their religious convictions, and I believe their goodness is infectious since they have fellowship of other good people. If you think that all teens will cause heartache and trouble you can change that through family meals, prayer and volunteerism: good wholesome living. One thing that I share constantly with my grandchildren is the fact that I have lost more friends to drugs than I have to war, accidents and natural causes COMBINED. I have never known a truly happy alcoholic or drug addict but know many tight-knit and happy families. This one thing, sharing meals could be the key to future success and ultimate happiness.

    3. Jane says:

      Odd. When I was a young teenager, the only time I drank alcohol was at family dinners and family parties. But maybe that doesn't count.

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.