Social Question

JLeslie's avatar

Does your family talk around the dinner table?

Asked by JLeslie (47251 points ) December 14th, 2012

Do the adults talk about current events, plans for the family, find out what the kids are interested in?

What does your family talk about? Do you think you learned a lot from your parents while growing up just by being present during for their conversations? Did they explain “adult matters” if you asked about what they were discussing? Or, dismiss your questions as not something for you to worry about?

Did you grow up watching TV during meals and not talking much at all?

Are you happy with the amount of time your family discussed/discusses topics of the day? Could be your family while you were growing up, or if you have children you can talk about the discussions you have with them. Or, both.

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18 Answers

YARNLADY's avatar

We eat buffet style. Everyone fills their plate and then goes back to their computer of game chair.

On special occasions we all have a sit down at the table meal and talk about various things, but those are only about three or four times a year.

zensky's avatar

Nope. We sit with trays in front of the TV – each one busy texting away.

ucme's avatar

Yeah, we say “Hey, how come we have no fucking dinner table & turn that shite over i’m trying to eat here!”

zenvelo's avatar

I have made a point of my kids and I sitting down to the kitchen table and eating together, even on nights when they have stuff going on and we’re rushing to and fro. It’s not always possible, but we do it most nights.

We talk about all kinds of things, from what is happening at school, to what is going on in the world.

SuperMouse's avatar

We sit at the table and eat together just about every evening the boys are with us. We typically go around the table and everyone shares something great about their day which usually leads to other conversations.

As a kid we sat down to dinner as a family. We did not have the television on but it was always pretty informal. I don’t remember my parents discussing adult matters with us.

Shippy's avatar

Being single I don’t of course. I eat here mostly. When I meet my SO finally in the UK, we will sit at a table. I always love the way Americans serve mash potato in a bowl. I love it. I think meals are so important. The way we eat them, with whom we eat them. :)

SavoirFaire's avatar

Yes. When I was young, my family had a whole set of dinner rules:

• No television (and later, no cell phones—iPods weren’t a concern back then).
• Dinner doesn’t start until everyone is present.
• Dinner is at 5:30 unless otherwise noted.
• Dinner takes place in the dining room.
• Everyone talks about their day.

Talking about our day almost always led to talking about other things. We were supposed to understand what everyone said, not just hear it, so parts of the stories would be explained if others didn’t get them. My family never had any forbidden topics. I suppose this might have been an outgrowth of my mother being a nurse. If you have to explain urology just to discuss your day, there’s not much worth being squeamish about.

My wife and I don’t have any formal rules—though we may institute some if we ever have children—but we still talk during dinner. Even if we decide to watch something, it’s always something like The Daily Show or The Colbert Report. Since we watch these online, we frequently pause them and discuss whatever issue was just subjected to mockery.

filmfann's avatar

If it is a small group, we eat while the TV is on.
If everyone is there, it is a gab fest. These are my favorite moments.

geeky_mama's avatar

We eat dinner together nearly every night. While we prepare dinner its not unusual to have the TV on..but once dinner is ready I send whatever kid is closest to call the others to the table and ask whatever kid is closest to the TV to turn it off.
We sit at the kitchen table (it seats 6, there are 5 of us unless one of the kids has a friend over which is pretty common on the weekend) and we talk about whatever comes up. It might be stories from the kids about stuff at school, what we’re doing next..or it could be totally random stuff like a discussion on a news event. The kids get a chance to brag, tell stories, complain, and laugh (and sometimes they bicker or bug each other-but that’s just life with siblings).
We (the parents) do all the meal prep and clean up—despite the fact the kids are probably old enough to do more. Our oldest daughter started a trend?tradition? where she thanks us for making the meal. Usually the other two chime in, too. “Danke for food!” “Yeah, thanks for dinner.”

Because my husband and I work from home (whenever we aren’t traveling) we also have the amazing good fortune to have lunch & breakfast together with our kids on summer days when they aren’t in school. When our schedules work out (which is more often than not) we all have breakfast, lunch AND dinner together.

We might be an unusual case—we have a LOT of family time together—especially when the kids are on break from school.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I come from a very tight family. We always preferred conversation over TV. Our dinner table was at the opposite end of the house from the TV. We’d sit for hours just talking with each other. Friends and guests marveled at this, but they got used to it in a hurry and loved it. We still do it all the time.

burntbonez's avatar

I would not say my family was emotionally close, but we ate dinner together every night. We talked. I remember it as being pleasant, for the most part.

Being single, I think it is the think I miss the most. I do cook for myself all the time. I don’t order out much, nor do I buy premade meals. But I eat in front of the computer, reading, writing, etc. Sometimes I go out to eat with friends or at friends houses and that is a special treat. Oddly, none of my friends have children, so I have never really had any children in my life. No uncle bonez, lol.

If I had a family, we would eat around the table every night. I would cook for them, or my partner would, if she knew how. But it is kind of lonely being single. I never thought I would end up this way.

wundayatta's avatar

We actually do eat together every night. My wife, me, and our two children. We eat. We talk. Sometimes the kids want to take off as soon as they can. Sometimes they want to hang around. My son usually does what my daughter does. I’ve never seen a boy admire his older sister as much as he does. I wonder if it has to do with them being conceived at the same time, although they were born four years apart. My poor son was frizz for four years, but he seems none the worse for the experience. If they’d been born more closely together, they might not be so close.

Sometimes they sing, although they are not supposed to. Sometimes they horse around. They are fond of putting their hand hands out so we have to all hold hands or touch hands at random times during dinner. It’s sweet. It’s fun. I love having dinner together. It’s when we learn the most about their lives.

AshLeigh's avatar

We eat on the couch, and in our rooms… When we go out, even if I wanted to talk to her she doesn’t look up from her phone the entire time.
I’m supposed to be the teenager here.

Shippy's avatar

@wundayatta Your family life sounds great, most can only wish for that I think.

wundayatta's avatar

@Shippy I am truly grateful for my family. I was raised this way. My parents wouldn’t allow a TV in the house. We have one, but it is way up on the third floor, so it’s hard to get to. Definitely not in the living room.

Maybe it has to do with loving food. Loving it enough to be worth cooking it right every night. Or maybe it’s just the ritual of it. But it is a habit and I think once things become habits they are easy. Everyone expects this to happen. It’s hard to conceive of doing it any other way.

I hope that anyone who does wish for it, makes it happen. It’s not hard to do if it becomes a habit.

augustlan's avatar

We don’t all eat at the same time all the time, but when we do we talk. We talk to each other a lot, anyway, about ‘grown up’ stuff and ‘kid stuff’, current events, whatever. Our best conversations tend to happen in the car, for some reason. Our best sing-alongs, too!

downtide's avatar

I live in a household of four adults who all have their own routines, so it’s not often we eat together at home. When we do, the conversations are usually fairly mundane. Funny, but like @augustlan our best and most thought-provoking conversations happen on long car trips.

Paradox25's avatar

I for one do not like to talk to others when I’m eating, even at work. Growing up this was never an issue for me since I didn’t have the classical family, and I usually would eat in my room or in front of the tv. There were exceptions, like on special occasions/holidays, where we would gather at the table but even then I did my best to avoid conversing while eating. I love food, and when I’m eating I want to do just that, eat not talk. Even in school we weren’t allowed to talk at lunch, at least until high school.

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