Military families urged to eat meals together
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Fried chicken, mashed potatoes, carrots and peas.
It’s a simple enough menu but teens eating it together with their families may be less likely to sample cigarettes, alcohol and drugs, according to a recent study by an abuse center at Columbia University.
Teens whose families have dinner together twice or fewer times a week are more likely to smoke, drink and abuse drugs, according the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia, which has been following the trend for more than a decade.
Having dinner together — and dinner conversation together — isn’t a fail-safe cure for abuse or addiction among teens, according to the center. Still, regular family dinners seem to lower the risk of drug abuse among teens, according to the center.
“I think it’s because families are engaged and involved,” said Ruth Hines, a counselor at Yongsan’s Adolescent Substance Abuse Counseling Services. “And they know what’s going on with their kids.”
That’s one of the reasons National Family Day was founded five years ago, Hines said. This year, National Family Day is Monday and ASACS is encouraging all families affiliated with the U.S. military in Korea to make an effort to eat together, she said.
Army Community Services and other organizations on base also are participating in the day, Hines said.
Yongsan Lanes is offering discounted bowling, free shoes and a free buffet to families on Monday night. The commissary at Yongsan will have special promotions on family-friendly foods. Restaurants at the Dragon Hill Lodge are offering discounts and the Family Fun Center at Yongsan will offer half-price admissions.
ASACS also will raffle off prizes to families that pledge to dine together. For more information, call DSN 738-6815 or DSN 738- 7505.