More than an American Dream: Benefits of family dinners

In today’s hectic world, it’s hard to get two minutes to talk to your children, let alone an entire meal’s worth. We live in a “grab n’ go” world where teens head from school straight to their extracurriculars which may last until after dinner time. Because of this, family dinners have kind of become a lost memory in American society. If families do manage to have family dinner, teens are on their phones, checking up on Facebook or their friend’s latest Instagram post. It’s time for the family dinner to return. Why? Because it could ensure your teen’s future success.

Improving family relationships

Conversations around the dinner table help inspire a sense of warmth and comfort for everyone in the family. It gives everyone an opportunity to bond, connect, and catch up with one another. It’s important to know what’s going on in your teen’s life and talking to your teen while eating a home cooked meal can help them feel more comfortable confiding in you.

family dinners

Image source- flickr user: denverjeffrey

It’s important to not have any distractions during these family dinners. Make sure televisions, computers, and phones are far away from the table. Conversation and eating should be the only things going on during family dinner time. This allows for an optimal bonding experience.

Family dinners do more than sate hunger

Family dinners provide more than nutrition for teens and children. According to the National Center for Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, children and teens who eat dinner with their family at least five times a week were less likely to develop poor eating habits, weight issues, or alcohol and substance dependencies. They also perform better academically than teens who eat alone or away from home.
Eating together as a family is clearly better than not eating together at all. If your teens don’t have time during most school days to eat family meals, make sure to have family dinners during weekends or any other time your teens are available. This is way more important than whatever other plans you or your teens have made.

Trails Carolina brings families back together

If your family dynamics are such that eating a family meal together would be nearly impossible, Trails Carolina can help. Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for teens ages 10-17 with emotional or behavioral issues. We help bring families back together by helping teens overcome their struggles with our multidisciplinary wilderness adventure programs.
For more information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303.

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Graham Shannonhouse

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Trails saved my daughter’s life. Amanda is an amazing human and a brilliant therapist. I am so grateful to her, Science Steve, and the other wonderful people who could reach my daughter at a time when I could not.

Margot Lowman August 2022

Great life changing experience for our son. After becoming addicted to gaming during covid he was very depressed. At Trails he experienced the wilderness, Science Steve, learning survival skills and top notch therapy and support etc… I highly recommend! This gave our son and our family a renewed family bond full of love and excitement about his bright future.

Winnifred Wilson July 2022


Outstanding clinical work and superb staff! There’s a great culture at this company and it shows with how they engage with families/clients.

Kristin Brace June 2022


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Trails Carolina’s wilderness camps for troubled teens are dedicated to helping teens work through behavioral or emotional difficulties, build trusting relationships with their family and peers, and achieve academic success.