How can teenagers eating frequently with parents reduce truancy?
A recent study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has indicated a correlation between eating meals with parents and higher school attendance. What are the possible reasons for this? Is it simply a reflection of strong family values having a positive influence on young peoples education or are the reasons more varied and complex?
1 expert has answered
The reasons are probably way more complex. We've seen a similar correlation here in the States, particularly in terms of less drug abuse and early sexual behavior. But, as you noted, it's a correlation, not necessarily cause and effect. I do know that eating together, and in our family's case, setting aside one night as a Family Night, in which we not only ate together, we prepared the meal together, and after dinner shared a book - and my daughter was a teen at the time.
I suspect the bottom line is that kids who feel valued and loved are less likely to get into trouble and one of the ways we help our kids feel valued and loved is to regularly share meals with them. Not the tense kind, where Mom and Dad spell out every infraction and otherwise dump on the kids. But the kind where everyone shares and is heard.
There may not be any statistics or studies that definitively show why eating together is so protective, but it's still a darned good thing to do, on so many levels, including eating healthier.