Compared to teens who have frequent family dinners (five to seven per week), those who have infrequent family dinners (fewer than three per week) are more than twice as likely to say that they expect to try drugs in the future, according to The Importance of Family Dinners VI, a new report from The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA*) at Columbia University. The CASA family dinners report reveals that nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of teens think that eating dinner frequently with their parents is very or fairly important.
Compared to teens that have frequent family dinners, those who have infrequent family dinners are:
• Twice as likely to have used tobacco;
• Almost twice as likely to have used alcohol; and
• One and half times likelier to have used marijuana.
The report found that compared to teens who talk to their parents about what’s going on in their lives at dinner, teens who don’t are twice as likely to have used tobacco and one and a half times likelier to have used marijuana.
“The message for parents couldn’t be any clearer. With the recent rise in the number of Americans age 12 and older who are using drugs, it is more important than ever to sit down to dinner and engage your children in conversation about their lives, their friends, school--just talk. Ask questions and really listen to their answers,” said Kathleen Ferrigno, CASA’s Director of Marketing who directs the Family Day-A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children TM initiative. “The magic that happens over family dinners isn’t the food on the table, but the communication and conversations around it. Of course there is no iron-clad guarantee that your kids will grow up drug free, but knowledge is power and the more you know the better the odds are that you will raise a healthy kid.”
The report also reveals that teens who have fewer than three family dinners per week are twice as likely to be able to get marijuana or prescription drugs (to get high) in an hour or less. Teens that are having five or more family dinners per week are more likely to say that they do not have any access to marijuana and prescription drugs (to get high).
This year the trend survey found that 60 percent of teens report having dinner with their families at least five times a week, a proportion that has remained consistent over the past decade.
Family Day—A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children TM Family Day is a national movement launched by CASA in 2001 to remind parents that frequent family dinners make a difference. Celebrated on the fourth Monday in September—the 24th in 2012—Family Day promotes parental engagement as a simple and effective way to reduce children’s risk of smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs. What began as a small grassroots initiative has grown to become a nationwide celebration which is expected to once again be proclaimed and supported by the President and all 50 U.S. Governors as well as leading sponsors Stouffer's and The Coca-Cola Company. More information about Family Day, including conversation starters and a pledge can be found at: http://casafamilyday.org
CASA and its staff of some 60 professionals aim to inform Americans of the economic and social costs of substance abuse and its impact on their lives, find out what works in prevention and treatment of this disease, and remove the stigma of substance abuse and replace shame and despair with hope.
For more information on CASA visit www.casacolumbia.org.
For more information on talking to your kids about drugs or taking a more active role in their lives contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or www.vbsafecoalition.com