No More Pepto Bismol:
Make Your Family Meals the Highlight of Your Day
There’s a lot to be said for digestion. There’s also a lot of research that shows the family dinner table is one of the most important settings for young people to gain stability and security. Given those two assumptions, it makes sense that we do everything we can to make meals calm, pleasant and desirable events to sit down to. And yet, how often do family meals spark tense, combative conversations that have everyone wishing they were somewhere else? What can be done to turn down the heat while we eat?
TIP: Make an agreement with your family that arguments will be put on hold during meal times. Ask each family member what one thing they think would help make meals enjoyable. Put those ideas to use. Ex. Have each person share a highlight of his or her day. Your teenager may roll her eyes at first but, over time, will join in.
Meals may be the only time people have a chance to sit and talk together, given the busy lives we all lead. The tension of the day, or on-going family issues, can naturally pop up when the family stops to gather. To win peace at family meals will take two commitments: to keep the conversation on a positive note, and to make separate time for the other challenging, but necessary, conversations. For the first commitment, try creating together a silent signal that anyone is allowed to use to remind everyone else at the table to keep conversation positive. A wiggling pinky finger can bring a much-needed chuckle from everyone and get that relaxed digestion going again.
For the second commitment, when you’re ready to have those challenging conversations, call us to make them productive and positive. We can help!
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