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spendy's avatar

How important is it for your family to eat together?

Asked by spendy (1446points) April 19th, 2008

Just interested in some different views on this subject. In my house, eating is just something we do for nourishment (often more than 3 meals per day) and we don’t place much emphasis on sitting down together. We spend our quality time other ways. However, I know this is important to many people. Why is or isn’t it important in your family?

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16 Answers

atr408's avatar

My family only eats together on special occasions. If its just a regular day my step dad and mom are at work until late at night and im watching my two little sisters.

BirdlegLeft's avatar

We try to sit down for a family meal when we can. We make a point of cooking most if our meals, and enjoying as a family. But, like an other modern family we are tugged at by many other things that fight for our time.

shared3's avatar

We always cook and eat together, but I always end up reading a book or magazine at the table…unless its like a major event, like someone’s birthday or a holiday.

srmorgan's avatar

We ate dinner as a family frequently, maybe as many as 5 times per week including weekends. I frequently worked late but my wife had dinner with the three kids even if I was working late or traveling on business.

This routine began to erode when the oldest child entered high school and began to be involved in school clubs and activities that conflicted with our dinner hour and then as the three of them got older, the whole exercise became more fragmented.

Now my daughter is 23 and not at home and the boys are 19 and 17 and usually not at home for dinner, one works afternoons and the other seems to prefer his friends to his parents, for some unknown reason.

I think the dinners together every night helped cement us as a family. We are not a perfect group, lots of sibling rivalry and obvious conflict but deep down they help each other and help us.


ninjaxmarc's avatar

its a good way to have some family time in a busy life, 1 hour is all you need.

Sloane2024's avatar

My mom, sis, & I rarely eat together, & if we do, we sit down n front of the tv 2 chill out & be comfortable. I know, I know, its a wretched habit, but it works 4 us & is conducive 2 our busy schedules. When the occasion arises that a sit-down-@-a-table meal is served, its on Christmas, Easter, or Thanksgiving.

spendy's avatar

@lifeflame, thanks for the thread…though it is very short and the question posed was related to statistics. I’m interested only in discussing the importance that people place on eating as a family and why.

@morgan, do you believe you were more cemented as a family because you ate 5 or so meals per week together? Or would it seem to have more to do with your close-knit family lifestyle and togetherness, in general? This is sort of why I’ve asked the question…I’ve had people (be it friends, etc.) debate with me re: the lack of family meals we eat together. I just can’t believe that sitting at a table together while we eat our food will “bring us closer together” any more than spending quality time in other ways. We eat when we’re hungry, and it’s not often at the same times. That’s not so say we never eat as a family…but when we do it’s impromptu.

srmorgan's avatar

@spendywatson—It is hard to precisely define how the cause and effect works in these situations. Every family is different.
I grew up in a “working-class” family in New York City in the 50’s and 60’s. My parents were both first-generation, 3 of my grandparents were born in Europe and emigrated to the US before 1914. Both of my parents worked long-hours and my little sister and I hardly ever ate dinner with them during the week, we were at our grandparent’s apartment down the street. But my sister and I are very close and speak once or twice a week even though we live 700 miles from each other and our lives are very different. I am married, 25 years this week, with three children, and my sister is gay and has been in a committed relationship for a considerably shorter time. That’s how it worked out for us.

My wife and I decided that she would not return to work after our first child was born. And as time went on , the family dinners became part of our routine, just as spending the weekends together when possible and visiting grandparents every few weeks became part of the routine.

It seems to have worked for us, but I don’t think a family will disintegrate or turn out hating each other if you don’t eat dinner together.
We made a decision and pretty much stuck to it. It’s worked out.

Every family is different.


spendy's avatar

@srm, totally respectable! I appreciate anyone’s committment to family time, no matter the form (even meals) and that each family does what works best for them. Important simply to be doing something. For us, it’s not family meals…but there are a plethora of other activities and routines. Congrats on your close-knit family – that’s awsome. :)

shockvalue's avatar

My family hasn’t had a functional sit down dinner since I turned six.

byrd's avatar

We have one at least 5 days out of the week. Mum + whoever helping to cook dinner than the rest of us sit down at the largish table and eat with some conversation (Which varies greatly from light/near nothing to more enthusiastic ones..).

It can take like 15 minutes to get everyone together though, sometimes. Though, we have a large family so it’s expected.

susanc's avatar

My family is grown up but we live pretty close together.
We visit a lot, sometimes in restaurants, sometimes at home. Sometimes we find ourselves at one of four of our houses and start looking in the fridge and figuring out who wants to make what and who needs to go to the store. Since the first baby came, everyone wants to hang out where she is. If you met her, you would too.

mzgator's avatar

I am a stay at home wife and mother. We eat dinner together at the family table every night. If my husband has to work that night, then we eat earlier together. There is no “rule” about this, it is just what we do. Most of the time it’s just eating at the breakfast table in the kitchen, but on weekends and holidays and special occasions we’ll eat in the dining room. We have a close family. We do lots of things together. My husband works a lot, so when he has time off we spend as much of it together. My brother lives down the street, and we often eat together.

gooch's avatar

In Cajun culture cooking and eating together are very important. It is important to me to know what is happening in my families life daily so this is a great time to talk.

medo's avatar

Is it important to eat meals with your family? Plz guys help me with it!!!

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