Family Dinner Endangered, but Not Extinct

Rapid City teenagers sometimes eat dinner with their families. Their rate is about the same as the rest of the country’s.

By Matte Bulman

Confirming that family dinner is decreasing in today’s society, a recent poll I conducted on Twitter and Instagram found that only 23 percent of teens eat dinner with their family every night. Sixty-one percent said they eat dinner with their family every once in a while, and 16 percent said they never eat with their family. One hundred people responded to the survey.

Teenagers today have busy schedules, whether it’s because of sports, homework, or hanging out with friends. An average student spends three hours on homework everyday, and if the student adds practice for sports to the mix then that is another couple hours of their night gone. “Every Tuesday the whole family meets at my grandparents’ house and we all eat and play games,” says Central senior Maddie Wiege. “I feel like it’s an awesome thing and has made all of us so much closer. It gave us a chance to talk about our days. I think they’re great!”

My local stats were consistent with bigger surveys. A recent study done by Eckrich shows that 40 percent of American families eat dinner together three or fewer times a week, and only 10 percent say they never eat together. Nearly half of parents say that they share fewer meals with their family now than they did growing up.

Busyness might not be the only trouble, as one in four parents say that there is nothing preventing them from sitting down and having a meal together. “My family and I eat dinner together as much as possible,” states senior CHS soccer player Garrett Cole. “We believe that it is an important part of our week.”

Photo: Dinner by Marc Gélinas on Flickr