6 Ways to Ruin Family Dinner

There are some tried-and-true ways to ruin family dinner (and ways to avoid it, too). Here’s my list of 6…and a call for your input!


Is family dinner really a silver bullet? We’ve all read, or at least heard about, the correlation between family dinners and improved physical and emotional health of our kids, better grades and social skills, and avoidance or delay in risky behavior like drugs, alcohol and early sexual activity.

But if your daughter flees the table in tears during an argument, or if your son shuts down when he feels he’s being criticized, or if you want to scream because your kids (or spouse) reject a meal you prepared, the benefits of the shared meal can seem unattainable.

As a family dinner advocate, cookbook author and meal planning expert, I’ve made it my mission to help families eat dinner together more often by helping them remove the stress and obstacles around making it happen.

But what I’ve also observed is that it’s not just about the food: There are interactions between parents and kids that can detract from the potential upsides of eating together.

In my latest column at the Washington Post, I take a look at the flip side of family dinners, the things that we may neglect to talk about (to our detriment).

6 Ways to Ruin Family Dinner Infographic - Aviva Goldfarb

Over at the Post, I also offer solutions for each of these items, so be sure to read my column.

I’m sure there are more than six ways to ruin family dinner…what would you add to my list?

And, even more importantly, what advice would you give to help avoid these “family dinner ruiners”?

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