Ten Benefits of Frequent Family Dinners

Benefits of Family Dinners

The more often children and teens eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink and use drugs. Children and teens who have frequent family dinners:

  1. Are at half the risk for substance abuse compared to teens who dine with their families infrequently
  2. Are less likely to have friends or classmates who use illicit drugs or abuse prescription drugs
  3. Have lower levels of tension and stress at home
  4. Are more likely to say that their parents are proud of them
  5. Are likelier to say they can confide in their parents
  6. Are likelier to get better grades in school
  7. Are more likely to be emotionally content and have positive peer relationships
  8. Have healthier eating habits
  9. Are at lower risk for thoughts of suicide
  10. Are less likely to try marijuana or have friends who use marijuana

Percent of Teens Who Smoke, Drink & Use Marijuana (by Frequency of Family Dinners)

Drug Type
5 to 7 Dinners per Week
0 to 2 Dinners per Week
Cigarettes 14 34
Alcohol 30 52
Marijuana 12


CASA* is the only national organization that brings together under one roof all the professional disciplines needed to study and combat all types of substance abuse as they affect all aspects of society. CASA has issued more than 55 reports, has conducted demonstration projects focused on children, families and schools at 96 sites in 41 cities in 22 states, and has been testing the effectiveness of drug and alcohol treatment, monitoring 15,000 individuals in more than 200 programs and five drug courts in 26 states. CASA is the creator of the nationwide Family Day initiative – the fourth Monday in September – that promotes parental engagement. To become a CASA member, please visit the CASA Columbia website and click “Become a Member” on the main menu or send an email for more information.

*The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University is neither affiliated with, nor sponsored by, the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (also known as “CASA”) or any of its member organizations, or any other organizations with the name of “CASA”.