Have you ever given any thought to the benefits of having dinner with your children? In our society today our children are over inundated with things they see, hear and are invited to participate in. The pressure from their peers can sometimes be overwhelming to the point that they no longer know what is acceptable and what is not. The boundary lines of right and wrong, which at one time were clearly marked by parental involvement, have become so blurred that one can barely recognize them.
It is extremely difficult for children to navigate on their own through this entangled maze of unyielding and continuous peer pressure. So how do we help our kids? Parental pressure has to be greater than peer pressure. I’m not talking about sitting your child down and interrogating, intimidating or threatening them. Simply have dinner with them. Be present in their world, whether they want you there or not. It is at the dinner table that engaging conversation takes place.
The dinner table is a safety zone where questions can be asked without the fear of punishment or being yelled at for needing an answer to something rolling around in their private world. And yes, our children have a private world that they will not let parents in, especially if they don’t feel safe.
It is at the dinner table that you talk about their day, celebrate good grades and good choices and be loving and encouraging when a mistake or bad choice is made. At the dinner table you can share laughter and be silly without being yelled at for accidentally knocking over a glass of soda. Children need for parents to be present when they are scared, when they don’t know what to do and when they need protection, or when they just need a hug.
Parents have dinner with your children, show them that they are loved and that they really do matter.