The Family That Eats Together Stays Together

My family, plus my son’s girlfriend have just polished off a big roast lamb with all the trimmings. It’s important for us to eat supper together during the week because I think otherwise it would be so easy to stop communicating – even just basic stuff like telling jokes or reliving memories or discussing what everyone in the family is up to at the moment. In these antisocial days of technology I can see that if I let them, everyone would be gobbling their food in front of the laptop or iPad or TV, completely immersed and failing to engage in that most old-fashioned of concepts: having a conversation! At weekends I try to keep to the same policy for at least one meal per day – we all sit down as a family.

With teenagers you need to deliberately and regularly create opportunities for interaction, or it’s easy to temporarily lose touch and become strangers living under the same roof and only having perfunctory discussions about laundry or revision, rather than allowing time for them to share the things that are really important to them at the moment. I feel very privileged when my sons confide in me and ask my advice about something. I also try very hard to keep in mind how lucky I am when one of my boys wanders unannounced into my office or bedroom, flops down and starts telling me about their day. Whichever “urgent” task I’m in the middle of can surely wait a bit whilst I listen – after all, they’re my most important priority!

Do you have a similar policy in your household, or maybe you’d like to share some other tips for keeping communication channels open with your child? Leave your comments in the form below.

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