Is mealtime also family time in your home?
We recently had a family living with us for over two years; two
were older teenagers. Actually, after a few months three of them went on
to other places, but the mother and youngest teenager stayed on. At the
start, the father, a friend and long-time on and off employee and/or
"handyman", who also helped me care for my husband for his long and
final illness, spent a couple of months fixing up things to accommodate
so many people, getting extra furniture, etc. We obviously needed more
dining chairs, and he found some very cheap used ones,
that we decided were unsatisfactory but would do for a while. The big
surprise was that although he, and usually his wife, would eat at the
table, everyone else took their food to their rooms to eat by
I've see this in other households, and to me it seems to be a
very unhealthy habit. Unless there is a party or celebration, most kids
and many times adults, are in the habit of eating by themselves.
When our brood was small, this was unthinkable.
Everyone ate together, and we discussed the day's occurrences, news and
ideas, and guided them to good table manners. Often when I was in my
teens and often living somewhere else than home, everyone ate on the
run, or in front of the TV on trays, coffee tables of TV tables. So this
isn't anything new. This is one of the only times a family can be
together and learn from one another. When we had grandkids here for
weeks on end (their parents were both in the military) we all ate
together too. We also put together jigsaw puzzles, played games like
Chinese checkers, monopoly and others, often with several neighbor's
kids too, whose parents were apparently too busy to indulge them this
From what I can see, many
children and teenagers are hungry for guidance, company and love; at
some point they just watch their own shows on TV, use their cell phones
excessively and pay little attention to their parents.
If you have small kids,
just remember; you reap what you sow. Someday in the future you may need
them, and if you haven't bonded with them, you can't expect them to do
so and be there for you in illness or your old age.