Eating together reduces the risk of addiction

Parenting is a tough job, and has become tougher due to all the distractions of modern life. As such it can sometimes be difficult to spend regular quality time with the entire family, but it is definitely worth the effort to try. A new study has shown that teen's who consistently take part in family meals are significantly less likely to develop problems with drugs and alcohol.

According to as new survey one of the best things you can do to reduce the chances of your child or teen experimenting with drink and drugs is to sit down as a family around the dinner table together for a meal every day. The US National Centre on Addiction and Substance Abuse published its findings last week in a report on the way families dine, and the substantial effect it can have on the emotional health of young people and teenagers. The report states that teenagers and young people who ate with their families at the table 5 to 7 times in every week were as much as four times less likely to use alcohol and drugs, including tobacco, as those the same age who only dined with their families a maximum of 3 times per week.

The report found that the number of young people who dined with their families has been consistent over a number of years, and out of the 1,000 teenagers who took part in the study, 58% of them were found to do so. A similar study recently undertaken in the UK around family dining habits, covering a large area of the population, has reported that dining together appears to be the fundamental ingredient when trying to ensure a child's happiness. The children who underwent the British study were found to have higher happiness levels when they ate around the table with their families on at least three occasions in any one week.

Addiction is something we all wish to avoid in our lives, and who knew something as simple as where we eat our food could have such a massive impact on the possibility of our children experimenting with substances. Of course, the practicalities aren't always ideal, there are those of us who simply cannot be there due to work commitments or other issues, but what I draw from this is the real key to prevention is communication. When we sit around the table we are spending quality time together and communicating and that I believe is the key to more confident, happy teenagers.

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