In a life long ago and far away in Vermont, I worked in a hospital diversion program for adolescents. We worked with kids who were suicidal, homicidal, had turned to self-harm behaviors to cope with chaos, and addiction. Our job was to figure out what the kid needed to feel more stable, so that they could work on what all adolescents should be doing is learning about themselves, the world around them, and the skills needed to be an adult.
Occasionally, when I met someone new and they learned what I do, they would ask if there was a common denominator for why a kid would be in crisis. There were all sorts of things that would contribute to a kid struggling. We know the list: poverty, abuse, addiction, mental illness, abandonment, asking them to be adult too young.
On thing that stood out was that the kids who had family dinners semi-regularly with out TV had more resilience, more self-insight, more age appropriate skill. Dinners are a place where information can be shared which helps kids learn about the world that they have yet to experience. It is also a place for the kid to articulate who they are.
If you would like some support around Family Dinners, here is a website. The Family Dinner Project.
If you think family dinners are helpful, please like this post or email us a story.
Photo Attribution: By National Cancer Institute [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons