Teens who have family dinner more often are less likely to use tobacco, alcohol or marijuana. And they are less likely to have friends who use them.
This chart doesn't say so, but family dinner is a great opportunity for parents to teach values, build relationships, and create happy memories -- all important elements in preparing our children to build happy, successful families of their own.
No wonder President Reagan said, "All great change in America begins at the dinner table."
If family dinner hasn't been high priority, this might be a good time to make a change. Our kids can even help with the preparation and clean-up. New habits may not be easy at first, but if we persist in good-natured patience, our efforts will pay big dividends in the long run.
If your family has any favorite dinner traditions, please share them in the comments.