Have you ever wondered why drug abuse is increasing? There has been a moral breakdown of what was once considered to be a family. It wasn’t that long ago when there were family days, where the whole family was home for dinner and a tray of freshly baked cupcakes did not have to indicate that a party was happening. Studies that are in from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University have concluded that families that sit down together and enjoy family meals together will help to reduce the number of children that experiment with alcohol, tobacco or other drugs later on.
The study also showed that regular family dining reduces the risks of early sexual involvement, fighting, other violence such as bullying and thoughts of suicide among teens. It was also impressively clear that family dinners helped kids be more successful in school, helped them build more positive peer relationships, and helped them develop healthier eating habits.
Kids Learn From All Their Surroundings
A recent survey of 1,000 kids between the ages of 12 and 17 reports that one in five students drink, smoke cigarettes or do drugs during school hours. The main cause of this is peer pressure. When kids hang with kids that use drugs they are much more likely to themselves.
Students from private schools are just as likely to engage in this behavior as kids from public schools. In 2011, 36 percent of students in private schools reported that drug abuse was “rampant” in their school. That percentage has risen to 54 percent in 2012 compared to that of public schools at 60 percent.
This same report also warned parents that kids whose parents did not talk to them about not drinking, smoking or using drugs were more likely to be involved in substance abuse. This is quite alarming since almost every child will be offered alcohol or drugs prior to graduating from high school.
Introduce Family Day
The results from this study were so profound that the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University created Family Day, which takes place on the fourth Monday in September. It was designed to bring families to the dinner table on a regular basis. It is encouraged that other states follow suit for their own good.
A Way to Strengthen the Family Bond
Family Day can be exceptionally beneficial for families. Simply shut the TV off, no cell phones at the table, no excuses for not being there, just sit down as a family and have dinner together and enjoy each other’s company. It will strengthen the family bond. It is worth the effort. Make it a tradition.
Joseph A. Califano, Jr., Chairman and President of CASAColumbia and former U.S. Secretary of Health, Education and Welfare says that “Revival of the family dinner in America will do more to curb kids smoking, drinking and using drugs than any law or public health campaign.”