10th Annual Family Day
Special Report - September 26, 2011
Today families across the country will eat dinner together as part of Family Day A Day to Eat Dinner with Your ChildrenTM, a national initiative proclaiming that “Dinner Makes A Difference.” The initiative, started by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (CASA Columbia) in 2001, works to inform “parents that the engagement fostered during frequent family dinners is an effective tool to keep America’s kids substance free.” President Obama, all 50 Governors, including North Carolina Governor Beverly Perdue, and more than 1,000 mayors and county executives have declared September 26, 2011 to be Family Day.
Parents can visit the movement’s website to pledge to become a Family Day STAR by committing to:
- S Spend time with my kids by having dinner together
- T Talk to them about their friends, interests and the dangers of drugs and alcohol
- A Answer their questions and listen to what they say
- R Recognize that I have the power to help keep my kids substance free!
The website also includes a Family Day Chef, Melissa Buchbinder, who shares family-friendly recipes. Specific pages on the site are dedicated to providing resources for parents to use in their homesincluding a Family Dinner Kit, conversation starters, recipes, placemats, word games, and a weekly menu plannerand for community leaders to use in promoting and celebrating the day.
Family Day hinges on data showing that “[t]he more often kids eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs.” The initiative promotes family meals as “the perfect time” for parents to talk to their children “about their friends, interests and the dangers of drugs and alcohol,” while answering questions in a safe and honest environment. CASA Columbia released its 2011 Family Dinner Report ahead of this year’s Family Day. Its findings include that “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 almost four times likelier to use tobacco, more than twice as likely to use alcohol; two-and-a-half times likelier to use marijuana; and almost four times likelier to say they expect to try drugs in the future.” Among the motivations for Family Day are the following statistics:
- A child who reaches age 21 without smoking, using illegal drugs or abusing alcohol is virtually certain never to do so.
- Children and teens that begin drinking before age 15 are four times likelier to become alcohol dependent than those who do not drink before age 21.
- Teens who have infrequent family dinners are twice as likely to use tobacco or marijuana; more than one and a half times likelier to use alcohol; and twice as likely to expect to try drugs in the future.
- Girls and young women are likelier to abuse substances in order to lose weight, relieve stress or boredom, improve their mood, reduce sexual inhibitions, self-medicate depression, and increase confidence.
“America’s drug problem is not going to be solved in courtrooms or legislative hearing rooms by judges and politicians,” said Joseph A. Califano, Jr., CASA Columbia Founder and Chairman. “It will be solved in living rooms and dining rooms and across kitchen tablesby parents and families.”
Parents Influence Teen Sexual Decisions - November 13, 2011
President Proclaims “Family Day” - September 25, 2006
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