- The study also found that fathers are likely to miss family meals if they are unhappy at work
Eating together as a family is not only good for bonding, it can also contribute to discipline.
Because fathers who don’t make it home to dinner with their families could end up having even more children with worse behavior, a study says.
Researchers spent time with more than 1,400 married couples with two-year-old children and calculated how many dinners per week the child ate with his mother and also his father.
They visited the families again when each child was four or five years old and asked the parents questions about their behavior.
The study found that children who ate dinner with their father less often as toddlers behaved worse.
One study found that children behaved worse if they ate dinner with their father less often as toddlers, even if they ate with their mother every day
This was the case even when the children ate dinner with their mother every day. Regardless of how often women ate dinner with their child, their behavior was worse when their father ate dinner with them less often.
Sehyun Ju of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, who led the study, said: “At family meals, children learn by watching adults share food, interact with each other, have conversations and make eye contact.”
“This is a unique daily experience that can help them learn how to communicate and behave.”
“These results suggest that it is important to have the whole family at the table because fathers, like mothers, bring important and unique characteristics.”
The study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, found that just one meal per week where a father or mother was absent from the dinner table was linked to worse childhood behavior.
When they examined the reasons why parents miss mealtimes, researchers found that fathers who were dissatisfied with their jobs and financial situation were less likely to eat dinner with their families. This was true regardless of whether they worked long hours, suggesting they lacked motivation.
According to the study, mothers who were dissatisfied at work were less likely to shy away from eating with the family, while the opposite was true for fathers who were dissatisfied with their jobs
However, mothers who were dissatisfied at work were less likely to avoid family dinners.
The study authors note, “It is possible that parents who are able to maintain family mealtime routines despite their work-related stress may have better work-family boundaries and a greater ability to regulate stress.”
The lead author Dr. Karen Kramer said: “For young children, dinner time is usually five or six o’clock, but expecting parents to be home early in the day doesn’t fit with being an ideal worker.”
“Policy initiatives to create a work environment and community support that facilitate family mealtimes would be important.”