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Family Dinners Help Teens Stay Sober

If parents want to keep their teens clean and sober, they may need to look no further than the family dinner table, according to a new study shown in the I B Times. CASA recently released a report that shows the importance of having family dinners. Joseph A. Califano, Jr., with CASA, says that parental involvement is key to raising drug-free teens and that family dinners are one of the basic acts of being engaged with your children.

Califano has been surveying teenagers for 17 years and has learned that parents who eat dinner with their sons and daughters will raise teens who are less likely to use drugs, drink or smoke. The study compared those who spent at least 21 hours or more together to those who spent seven hours or less with parents each week.

The researchers also found that almost 60 percent of teenagers in the United States have a sit-down family meal at least five days a week and that teens who spend time with parents at the table spent more time with parents overall. On the opposite side, those teens reporting infrequent meals also spent less time with parents. If they did sit down to family dinners, they were quick.

In general, teens who spent less time with parents were more apt to use alcohol and to have at least one classmate or friend who had access to drugs. Those less likely to use illegal drugs or substances were those who spent the most time with their parents. Research further showed that if parents had differing opinions on how to teach their children about alcohol and drugs, their teens were more likely to experiment with such substances.

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