I heard some therapists speaking on NPR. They reported that dinner with family was the most important thing you can do to foster a positive relationship with your kids and keep them off drugs. I immediately felt guilty.
It’s hard for me to have dinner with my whole family. I drive my 6 year old daughter, Lily, to her acting class 2x a week which cuts into an early dinner time. My husband often travels, or works late so he is not around. I have coaching clients from 5pm-8pm. As it is my stepdaughter and granddaughter have to eat at 4:30 before I go to work so as not to disturb my work schedule.
So I can’t have family dinner, which made me mad at the NPR therapists. What do they know anyway? I start building a case for why they’re wrong: what if family dinner consists of “Hey asshole, pass the creamed spinach.” How is that good? Or what if you have to answer to “Why did you wear that awful sweater??!” And after a long day what if the family says “I hate this food, why don’t you ever make something I want?” And if everyone is on their mobile devices I might lose it and scream “Look at me when I’m talking to you!!” Will that make them want to talk with me about the inner machinations of their lives? And I can picture Lily with her head in her hands sighing: “These meals are always such a disappointment.”
Is that really going to keep kids off drugs or send them reeling to them?
I think there may be more to it than just getting everyone together for dinner. At least that’s what I’m telling myself so I can feel a little bit better.