There is tons of information out there about the benefits of family dinners. It's more likely that the family consumes healthier foods, more fruits and veggies, less fried foods and soda. Young girls are less likely to have eating disorders. Children are more likely to feel like their parents are proud of them, less likely to use drugs and more likely to get good grades. This sounds fantastic. But something you never see are the statistics about the effects of family dinners on the parents. I'm sure this is because no good could come from studying it.
Our family dinners always involve at least one person crying about what's being served, at least two people fighting over who gets to lay out the forks versus the napkins, at least one person making a massive mess, at least two people telling very animated stories at one time, at least two people who cannot remain seated more than 90 seconds at a time, at least one person crying because they fell out of their chair, at least two people begging for dessert before any real food has been consumed, at least two people bickering loudly and at least one grown-up reaching their breaking point.
There are times when all I can do is take my plate and fork, go to the kitchen and stand at the counter finishing my dinner because I just cannot take it anymore. Since we have family dinners almost every night I feel sure my kids are going to be incredibly healthy, well-adjusted adult people someday but I fear I'll be drooling in my rocking chair on the porch of some state-run mental institution well before that ever happens.
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