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Five Steps to Stress-Free, Healthy Family Meals

April 17, 2016

My husband and I were just talking about this the other day. We each sit at a computer and eat. There’s no social interaction except for holidays. ~ Connie


Regular meals serve as an easily measured proxy for one of longest-standing and sturdiest determinants of adolescent well-being: authoritative parenting.

Year after year, studies show the family meal as being an important factor in raising children successfully. It doesn’t even have to be an evening meal—busy families may find that breakfast is a better option. Why does this work?

The very act of putting a meal together for everyone shows caring (warmth) and planning (or structure) on the part of the parents, and expecting the children (especially adolescents and teens) to be there shows structure.

Why are warmth and structure important?

The New York Times blog post “Where’s the Magic in Family Dinner?” has an interesting take on this: “In the early 1970s, the psychologist Diana Baumrind identified two essential components of parenting: structure and warmth. Authoritative parents bring both. They hold high standards for behavior while being lovingly…

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