Opinions on eating dinner together as a family.

Leslie - posted on 08/14/2010 ( 205 moms have responded )

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How important is it for a family to eat dinner together? I am currently the sole source of income for my family. My husband is a stay at home husband and we have a 9 1/2 year old son.
My husband simply does not like to sit down at the dining room table and eat with my son and I. He prefers to sit in the living room in front of the tv or in front of the computer in the computer room and eat his dinner while either watching tv or surfing the net.
It makes me feel like he is sending us a message that he is too good to sit down and eat with us. He will make exceptions for holiday meals or birthday meals. I have insisted that he sit down and eat with us and told him how it makes me feel, but he tells me that most families don't eat together anymore.
I'd love to hear what you all do at meal time and what your opinions on this are.

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Arazona - posted on 08/19/2010

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I am a single mom with twins (3). I do feel its very important that the entire family do sit down at the dinning table and have dinner together.
It creates family time. There is no TV, computers or any other distractions. Its the best time to chat about everybody's day and to find out if the kids have any problems at school or concerns with friends and group pressure.
My little ones enjoys to set the table for us. Sometimes we even enjoy dinner with candle light and thats a major treat form them. I have found that it help them with communication skills and social development...

Wanda - posted on 08/19/2010

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I am a stay at home mom of five and my husband is the sole provider. We eat all our dinners together as a family. It gives us time to talk and see how one another's day has gone and such. In my opinion I feel that it is important for us to eat together since we all like to do our own things a lot so, to me it is impotant. Your husband can surf the net later on after or before dinner or even do it afterward. I sure hope that he will come to and see how important it is to him for you all to eat as one happy family. If he still insists on being in another room you have three choices.... one, just continue to eat seperatly and be miserable two, you and your son go in the room he is in weather you all sit in the living room or the computer room or three and this is sort of sneaky but turn off the main electric switch for the time being and he'll think the power is out. lol! Just kidding you would have to do that everyday and he would get wise. I hope that you two can talk it out and get to enjoy family meals as a family.

Jeanette - posted on 08/19/2010

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I don't want to be disrespectful, but to be honest I think that your husband behaves like a child. Is TV watching or surfing the net more important that his family? It sounds like he has his priorities all mixed up. I really think that his behaviour and the argument that "most families don't eat together anymore" sounds more like a grumpy teenager than a husband and father. Maybe he feels really bad about being at home and does not know how to handle that? Personally I feel there must be s th wrong if a grown up man behaves like that. I really hope you solve this situation!

Carolyne - posted on 08/19/2010

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Oh, that's no good. Well if it makes you feel any better my family doesn't sit together at meal times either, unless we have a BBQ. MY husband is a shiftworker and his hours are all over the place. The times I do eat with my kids at a dining table are usually stressful and not worth it. They are not used to that. I was brought up to all eat at 6pm sharp and have perfect manner, no one could start eating until my mum sat down and no one could leave the table until everyone had finished. I am working for myself as well as studying, have Tae Kwon Do 2 nights a week for the kids so in our family, all having dinner together really is impossible. My husband and I often eat together after he gets home from work, but that's too late for the kids at 8pm. I don't eat with them as I am too busy keeping on top of everything and cleaning up but I am in the same room with them talking to them. I don't blame you feeling like you do though, if my husband didn't want to sit with me when we were both home I would be upset too.
Carolyne

Kristi - posted on 08/18/2010

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Well, he is right - most families don't, but most families are messed up these days, so I wouldn't compare myself to others. I think it is important to connect with family members by discussing each others' days, etc, but that doesn't have to be around the table. I used to think it was so important to eat meals together, but by the time dinner came around, we had already exhausted what a 9 year old can talk about...the kids would just act silly and we all eat at different rates, so some would be done eating and want to leave and others would be left to eat alone....and when I made fast eaters stay, they would just get bored and the slow eaters would feel rushed....so all in all, it was boring and unnecessary - I didn't feel any more connected to them....I make time after school to connect with the kids and men aren't very good at that type of thing - but my husband usually says hi when he gets home and then we say nightly prayers together and talk before bedtime. We end up, on most nights, eating TV while watching Jeopardy. I still consider this 'bonding' time....and I have stopped fighting it. We are fine with it and it works for us. As long as you are connecting with them at some point, it doesn't matter if food is involved. :)

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Folashade - posted on 08/19/2010

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Doest it make any difference if a family eats together on the dining table or differently? What i feel is dt so far d meal is eaten, no comment but i perceive problem when d meal is left untouched.

[deleted account]

I disagree with forcing your husband to sit at the table. My husband has a flex schedule and spends more time with the kids than I. He grew up having dinner time as a TV time so I as well am not able to change his opinon... yet. I grew up with dinner in the kitchen and the TV on as well. It depends on what is your definition of relaxing. Men see relaxation as a time to mindlessly unwind and Women want to socialize. It is how we are wired. So if you choose to set a good example of mealtime at the table with your kids just enjoy that time. Your husband works hard and puts his time in with the kids during the day. They deserve that downtime.

Michelle - posted on 08/19/2010

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We eat together ever single night. We've done it since my son was an infant. Now 2 1/2 years old and he knows it's our time together... he's talking to us... we feel togetherness. It's SO important. Families that don't sit down together anymore are the families that seperated from one another...

Danielle - posted on 08/19/2010

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My father is a firm believer of "A Family that eats together stays together" we ate dinner every night as a family and I have continued that tradition with my own. It wasn't always a pleasant experience I have had my fair share of arguments with my siblings over a meal, but I guess that also shows that by having the time when you are all in once place at the same time gives you an opportunity to discuss topics which would otherwise not be open for discussion.

Kristine - posted on 08/19/2010

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we sit and eat together every night. as we both work, we feel strongly this is an important time to reconnect, talk about the day. We also knwo as our boys get older and more involved in activities or sports we may wind up not having as many meals together, so this time is precious. I grew up like this and even when we were all busy, Sunday dinner was a must. Maybe you can compromise with him and have several nights a week where he needs to sit with you guys.

Dottie - posted on 08/19/2010

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Kids need routine. Part of that routine is dinner with the family. I made sure that my family sat down to a home cooked meal every night. Sure, there were nights we couldn't, but most nights we sat, had dinner and discussed our day with each other. They turned out to be well adjusted adults with no alcohol or drug problems~I call that success!

Pat - posted on 08/19/2010

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I believe supper time is almost critical for a family to spend together. I have three children and two of them have flown the nest. Supper time has always been a time for us all to sit down and catch up on what is going on with everyone. When my son's fiance visited us, that was one thing that she commented about. Everybody at her house fixed a plate and went their own direction. At the same time, I can see your husband's side. If he has spent all day with a 9 1/2 year old he may just need a break and some breathing room. I think you are probably getting the wrong message by thinking he feels he is too good to sit down with you. Unless your son's behavior is consistently the best, I can understand. Most men don't have the emotions and patience needed for 24 hour 'mothering'. I would suggest you try to shift that alone time to after your son gets in bed. Make that a consistent time that gives the two of you enough time to unwind together. Or after supper, go for a walk with your husband if your son is mature enough to stay alone or has a neighbor he can hang with for 30 minutes.

Lynnehayes - posted on 08/19/2010

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My family always had one meal together; supper. It was the time to discuss the day.. and for kids, it is the time that they actually start to talk, ask questions... feel like they are more than just the kid in the family, but a respected member of the family. My husband was brought up that way as well, but he respects and understands that family time to me, is when we face one another and share something, like a meal.

Sue - posted on 08/19/2010

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I know exactly how you feel, i have a husband that does the same thing and it makes me feel rejected. I had a talk to him about how i felt and how my children felt about his disappearing act at dinner time and relayed that it was an important time of the day for the family to talk about the day. He wasnt happy about it and I asked that 4 out of the 7 days be spent at the table and the other 3 wherever he liked so as to keep all happy. He agreed to try that and has done that since. I myself think it is important to sit together as a family at dinner as it is the only time you will all be at the same place at the same time in that day. But if its not alway possible a compromise must be met to keep both parties happy. Give and take so to speak.

Elizabeth - posted on 08/19/2010

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My family tries to make it a point to have sit down meals 4 days a week (Mon-Thurs) because it allows us time to vent about our days at work and talk about school with the kids or their many activities. I don't think if we didn't talk that we'd ever sit down at the table.

Kelly - posted on 08/19/2010

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For my family we sit down and it dinner together. It is very important to us to share in this time of conversation and just a time to slow down and enjoy each other. My girls are teenagers so sometimes we are eating late depending on sports and when there father gets home. We try to make every effort to sit down and it together. I can honestly say we accomplish this 99% of the time.

Silvia - posted on 08/19/2010

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Hello everyone! It's my first time on this forum.
I have a 2,7 years son and both me and my husband spend at work at least 8 hours/day so ... the evening and especially dinner is a very precious time to spend together. For our son is a very happy moment to sit with us at the same table and to share food and drinks. I would say that dinner with my entire family becaome a ritual.

Ornella - posted on 08/19/2010

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When dinner time comes in our house it is almost the only time when My husband my 14 month old daughter and I are together! The baby eats before we do and then she seats down with us at the table still eating some of our food, but it's definetely something to cherish, it's the only time that we get to talk about our day and be together as a couple. The couple needs to be careful because it's easy to put the baby first...

Donna - posted on 08/19/2010

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I would love to eat as a family, and think it has a good few benefits especially in teaching manners and social interraction. That said your OH is right in that because of lifestyles this often does not happen anymore (usually out of nececity rather than choice in my opinion)
We eat together at least once a week, and otherwise the kids all eat together at a table, and I wait for my husband coming home (can be anytime from 8pm to 11pm)
Would truly love to do this more, but I do at least sit with them (especially over lunch)

Dorothy - posted on 08/19/2010

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Most inportant thing you can do with your family.Give the Children time to talk about their day. Good things and bad days. They need this

Sequoia - posted on 08/19/2010

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maybe try compromising and eating together a couple of nights a week and then letting him eat alone the rest f the time. You might find if u start off just a couple of nights he might enjoy it and want to do it more often. Or maybe try serving a meal that has to be eaten as a group-so do lasagne in a big dish so he has to come to the table to get his portion, or doing all the veg/potatoes/pasta in bowls so that he has to come get his portion from the table anyways. We only eat at the table 3 or 4 nights a week as i work some nights so we make sure we eat together on the nights im at home, and i assume he eats infront of the tv with the baby when he has her the other nights.

Michelle - posted on 08/19/2010

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Well , i think you are both to good for him.I am sorry but if he cannont spend half an hr with his family then he can go sit somewhere eles. I am a family of 8 and dinner time is so important,even the older 18,19 will not go out till after dinner.Its a time where we all 1 by 1 tell us how our day went and if there is anything important the next day.Tell him you would like to do that and i hope he will see reasoning in that.Look it is important,the day is so busy everyone is crazy and it is the 1hr we set aside and it is great.
Good luck
Michelle

Thirsa - posted on 08/19/2010

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We try to eat together at the dining room every day, but in the weekend it will happen we eat in front of the tv. But my boyfriend wants to eat in silence just like he just to do at his home, and i want to talk about the day. But it's a stupid excuse that nobody eats together anymore. When everybody jumps in the water.. he will do too??? lol

Kay - posted on 08/19/2010

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My son is 34. Severely Mental retardation & is a violent autistic. He does not talk but understands everything I say. many times it is just me and him at the table. I have found he will eat better when we sit at the table together and will use utensil instead of his hands if I am sitting with him. He is a picky eater and that is fine. He pushes what he does not like off to the side of his plate. The conversation is all one sided and he seems to enjoy the time we spend together at the table. There are times when we do sit in the living room to watch TV. I figure at least we are sitting in one room and doing something together.

Carlie - posted on 08/19/2010

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Something I wanted to ask, so you only have your 9 1/2 year old son and he is a 'stay at home dad'?? When your son is at school, why can't he at some stage surf the net etc then?? What does he do all day when the son is at school??

[deleted account]

I am a great grandmother and was raised eatting together every night as a family. Also I raised 4 daughters...all in sports with late games...and they also if home all ate together at the familytable If they came in late several of us lingered at the table while she warmed up her food and told us about the game. The important word is sharing your day with those who love you and care.It makes a real family spirit that lasts when other wordly things try to tear you apart! It is a time when kids will tell you what other kids said and did and you can ask what do you think? Get the ideas of how your children think on important subjects.Then add your opinions or correct false ideas with facts in a calm and non-aggressive atmosphere. It thelps create effective social skills in a natural setting.. I am glad you asked because it shows you know it is important and will chose what is best for your whole family.

Stephanie - posted on 08/18/2010

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During the week, we sit and eat as a family, catch up with the kids, they are still small, 2 and 4, but we pray together and chat to each other, on weekends, we are much more relaxed the kids are allowed to eat at their small table, watching a story and me and hubby usually eat later.

Emily - posted on 08/18/2010

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Eating in front of the TV, Computer or other entertainment can lead to all kinds of eating problems, like compulsive eating - "snacking" you are basically conditioning your body to expect food with a certain stimulus like Pavlov's Dog. Now, my husband is also a SAHD - he likes to eat with us, but I prefer to sit on the couch or in bed, somewhere comfortable when I get home. Maybe it is a comfort thing? He needs to decompress from a long day of being home with your son - SAHD is still a job. Why not offer him some alone time in exchange for eating with you - meal times can be bonding times. A set time when the family can all get together.

Natasja - posted on 08/18/2010

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Im a great believer in dinner time around a table. For a while everybody refrain from their busy schedule. Its a time where the family can bond by talking and sharing. Im a single mom and all the responsibilities rest on my shoulders, therefore I use dinner time around the table to ask about school, what bothers them or just to laugh together. I always have this picture in my head of a big farm kitchen with a table in the middle, kids running around and a familiy getting together. And that is what I try to cultivate in my home. When I was still married my husband used to also want to sit in front of the tv and eat, but believe me that is a family killer. Just like a tv in a bedroom is a romance killer. You and your son keep going, maybe later your husband will come to the party. Make dinner times around the table fun that he will feel he wants to join in.

Julie - posted on 08/18/2010

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I insist on family mealtime. I would wonder why my husband was avoiding the family if he chose to share his dinner with the TV or his computer.

Deloris - posted on 08/18/2010

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well me and my family eat dinner together sometime.most of the time we eat in place in our room

Fabiola - posted on 08/18/2010

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Eating together as a family is the right thing to do, no doubt! And it should have begun from the early days if your marriage!!! In my home, we make sure we eat together at dinner & on weekends too. But there is no reason to fret if that's not the case in your family. I do know many homes where eating together is just not the norm inspite of being a close-knit family. And there are those who even gobble up a quick meal straight from the stove to the plate... So i guess, to each his own...



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LeAnna - posted on 08/18/2010

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There are so many benefits for families eating meals together. You can share in each other's day, spend time reconnecting, lot's of great memories happen around a dinner table. Your husband probably doesn't realize or see the impact of his actions. But you need to be together as a family. I believe most families DO eat dinner together...those who are home. And maybe that's the approach to take...if you can use the approach of "it would really mean a lot to me if you would join us for dinner sweetheart"...he might respond differently. Another thing to consider is preparing the meal together, as a family and then enjoying it together. Even go so far as planning the weekly dinner menu together. Maybe he just needs to feel a part of the whole process as well...he might feel more inclined to join you. Dinner tables are free of distractions of TV, the internet, phone calls. It's family time - no exceptions. See if he'll respond to some of these suggestions. If you are not "demanding" but letting him know it means a lot to you, you might be surprised at the result.

Dolly - posted on 08/18/2010

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at our home dinner together is a mandate and absolute rule. we do watch TV while having dinner but the conversation hovers around the way each of us has spent their day. my girls share theri college gossip and generally these are the lightest moments of the day. Its naturalopathy and a must for all families

Molly - posted on 08/18/2010

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If you look up on Google the effects of not eating together you will see that when fathers are missing at the dinner table children do poorly at school. Does your child get the message that tv or computer is more important than he is? Molly Brown Koch

Lisa - posted on 08/18/2010

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I'd like to eat together at a table,.....but that isn't going to happen. the table is covered in "stuff", an my husband and I aren't home during the dinner hour. When we are, we eat from our laps, in the living room, sometimes with the TV on. Our quality conversation time isn't reserved for dinner time.

Tracey - posted on 08/18/2010

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Maybe your husband is wanting some 'him' time after spending the daye with baby at home... I know I do! My husband takes our son off my hands for 10-20 minutes (normally while I make dinner) and then we sit together to eat - perhaps offering him some down time to surf the net, watch TV (uninterrupted), read the paper, then he wouldn't feel like sitting together to eat is a chore - good luck, I feel that eating together is important family time and something we talked about before baby was born!

Tamarin - posted on 08/18/2010

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doesnt matter about other fam's if it's important too you then he should respect that and eat with you!

Jamie - posted on 08/18/2010

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Studies have shown that meal time are a time for families to connect and familes who eat together have children who communicate with parents more often and drink and do drugs less and families that don't. I think based on this evidence it is very important.

Sharon - posted on 08/18/2010

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We eat together at every opportunity, and if one of us is missing (business trip, sleep over, etc) it really emphasizes how much we enjoy being TOGETHER. We have 1 tv in the house and generally enjoy that together, too. Since my children are 15, 13, and 8, we easily find conversations and movies to enjoy together. They will forget some of their childhood when they go off to college, but when times get tough they will always remember our family togetherness. I cannot stress how important and how GREAT that is.

Carolyn - posted on 08/18/2010

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Gina,

You bring up a very important point, and yes, if all you can get is weekends together at the table as a family, that should be a priority. Perhaps if your husband realized what is best for the children, it might help. Not only is sitting together for a meal important, but the example he is setting for them by leaving the meal to surf the net is teaching them to be inconsiderate, as well. Children learn a lot more from what they live than what they hear :)

Gina - posted on 08/18/2010

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While we would like to sit down as a family and eat dinner, our problem is the over lapping of schedules. For instance this evening one son had football practice from 3-5:15 pm. The other son had soccer practice from 6-7 pm. While one was coming, others were going. And I have an evening work meeting or late afternoon meeting at least once a week to boot. More often our family dinners happen on the weekends only. I think you have to enjoy what you get sometimes. But to intensionally leave a table to check or surf the computer is rude. TV is harder to get turned off in my house. I haven't been able to solve that one yet.

Carolyn - posted on 08/18/2010

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I was raised in a family that all sat together for every evening meal. It was a time we shared our hopes, anticipations, disappointments, etc., and is a special memory for me. My children did not have that luxury. Their father, too, sat at the television and would not join us at the table. Sorry, but the message he is conveying is that the family unit is not that important. He may say most families don't eat together any more, but is he going to follow the crowd (if, in fact, that is even true) or is he going to do what is right. Far too many reports have recently come out stating how much better balanced families are who eat dinner together. Even if it were not an issue of how it makes you feel, the key issue is what is best for your son, and trust me, having dinner as a family is something we better get back to - soon. Your son needs it, even if your husband doesn't. Do it for HIM!

Feel free to visit my website, and read a few of my blogs: http://www.orangeblossomwishes.com

Best wishes on this, and hugs, too!
Carolyn S. Hennecy
Author/Speaker/Advocate

Marissa - posted on 08/18/2010

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I would tell your husband that small things mean a lot and eating together is a very good thing to do. My family always ate together, and now that my children are grown (23 and 22) they both say that they miss that time together to talk and share our day. I don't believe it's an antiquated notion whatsoever, and do you know there is research that shows that children who eat dinner with the family every night get into less trouble? Food for thought!

Kelli - posted on 08/18/2010

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I grew up ALWAYS eating dinner together. My family and I eat together, with the TV on. No answer is perfect, you need to find what works for your family. I know a family who ate breakfast together because it was the only time of the day they were all in the same place at the same time. If you don't like that he doesn't eat meals with you, find another way to spend quality time together, at a meal or not.

Nancy - posted on 08/18/2010

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I hope there is a way to impress on him the importance of eating dinner together at least most of the time. I was raised that way and raised my kids that way. We had family conversation,and that's where we learned table manners and other social niceties like letting one person talk at a time and being a good listener. I found out more about my sons' activities and thoughts at the dinner table than almost any other time. Now the kids are grown, but they do the same thing with their children.

Your husband's not wanting to eat at the table with the family is probably about his wanting to be inside his own head, not interacting with anyone, rather than about his feeling too good for you.

Stephanie - posted on 08/18/2010

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We eat together almost all the time. I think it's crucial to interacting and keeping connected with each other. When the kids were younger, we went around the table and gave each one a chance to talk about their day... or what ever they wanted. It was good for them, and for me, to be involved and know what everyone is up to.
There are occasions, maybe once a week, where we eat where ever. But I definitely wouldn't be impressed if my husband went somewhere else to eat. By golly, if I can go to the trouble of cooking, you can sit with me and talk to me while we eat! That's the rule in our house!

Heather - posted on 08/18/2010

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I have 16 yr old twins and now that they are teens we dont get a chance to sit down at the table together very often, i have noticed that it is the one time that we actually get to be a family.. it seems to be when all the real tough subjects that they dont know how to approch seem to be addressed at the dinner table.. even when we fight, it seems that if we all actually sit at the table and have dinner all is well by the end.. I feel that family at the dinner table makes a strong and close family.. good luck!!

[deleted account]

Studies have shown that families who eat together are closer, have better communication, the kids do better in school.
We try to have dinner at the table every night. Right now, that is extremely difficult b/c my husband works/lives out of town during the week and is only home on weekends. However, I do try to still sit w/the kids at the table. It is so important. My kids are only 7,6,& 3, but this foundation in their lives is critical.

Kimberly - posted on 08/18/2010

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do you really think the message is "i'm to good to sit with you?" i would question that interpretation. does the stay at home dad deal with the kids for a good portion of the day? with other household chores? more likely, he is looking at an opportunity to have time for himself. my husband also does not work outside the home. i used to stand on my head to make sure we could have dinner together as a family. this worked for a while. but then my son's homework obligations became more significant, my husband was faced with dietary restrictions, and my work schedule became much more demanding. it's now virtually impossible. we all eat different meals at different times. i'm disappointed that we can't continue the dinner tradition, but the stress it was causing started to outweigh the reward. we now work on alternative venues to ensure family bonding time. dad and son (age 10) do some weight lifting together. dad recruits the boy to help him with certain chores, like car repair. dinners are great, but there are alternatives for achieving quality family time.

Jenny - posted on 08/18/2010

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I personally think it's important to sit down together for at least one meal ... usually dinner. Our daughter is 18 months old and at dinner we talk about our day.

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