The Family Table

Educating Families About the Benefits of Family Meals

Archive for the tag “teens”

National Drug Fact Week


This Week’s Recipe

January 26-30 is National Drug Fact Week in the US. So why should you care?  Studies show that youth listen when you speak. They may not show great listening skills, or sit down quietly beside you while you talk, but they do listen and they do watch your behavior.

Across the nation, and here in Indiana, abuse of prescription medications by middle school, high school and college age students is increasing.   Prescription medications are the drug-of-choice for 12 and 13 year-olds, abused more commonly than any other drug.  Youth often perceive pain medications such as hydrocodone, fentanyl, or oxycodone to be less dangerous than other narcotic drugs like heroin or opium. Unfortunately, the effect on the brain is the same regardless of whether the narcotic is a prescription with specific instructions to follow, or purchased off the street.

Four in ten teens report that the prescription medication they used came from their parents’ medicine cabinet. Parents can reduce access to prescription medication by monitoring and securing their prescription medications and disposing of any expired or unused medications.

SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration) reports that talking to children about the dangers of prescription drug abuse and misuse goes a long way. Teens that had learned “a lot” or “a little” from their parents or grandparents about prescription medications were up to 42%   less likely to abuse prescription drugs than teens that reported learning “nothing.”  Family meals can be a perfect time to start that conversation about drug abuse.  Hints for starting the conversation (and making it a conversation and not a lecture!) can be found here.

Linda Hathaway
Director of Curriculum & Education and Mother of Six

Tip of the Week: Growing Up is Hard to Do


Recipe of the Week

I was asked to write this week’s Tip on puberty, probably because I am currently surviving my fifth trip through this stage of life with my children.  Being a five time survivor, all I have learned is that puberty is when girls get mean and boys get stinky!  I know puberty has hit in my house when the child who I used to have to shoe-horn into the shower now takes a 45 minute shower, three times a day.  I definitely believe the hormones coursing through young people’s bodies do addle their thinking.  For me, the hallmark of puberty is saying to my child, “What were you thinking?  Seriously, WHAT were you THINKING?”

Puberty, and the teen years, can be scary.  It’s a time when we realize our children are starting to make more and more of their decisions without us, and the consequences of those decisions could be serious, even fatal.  As a parent, my job is to protect my children – puberty is a sign that my job is changing.  No longer will I be able to physically be there and protect my children; they are getting ready to go out into the world in a few short years.  The protection I will be giving them is hoping that I have taught them well, how to make good decisions, and to stand up to people who want them to do something stupid or dangerous.

The teen years are a time when our children seem to do their best to convince us that they don’t listen to anything we say or any advice we are giving them.  That simply isn’t true.  Study after study shows that parents are still the primary influence on youth, even more so than their friends.  If you want your teen to keep talking openly to you, this is the time to avoid criticizing how your teen dresses or how their friends look.  Instead, be open to conversation and don’t always come across as having the answers.  Comments like, “wow, that’s a tough situation – I’m not sure what I would do in that situation” can help your teen open up to you.

The family meal becomes even more important and is a time when we can talk to our teens – on the days that they are open to talking!  Rather than ask teens how their day at school was (to be followed by a grunt from your teen), instead present them with a problem from your day and ask them for advice.  Presenting a situation, “I am really stressed at work.  I have all these projects to get finished and my boss doesn’t seem to understand I can’t get it all done. I want to do a good job, but I just don’t see how I can” gives your teen a chance to see that you are seeing them as growing up.  It gives them an opportunity to relate your situation with some of the problems they may be facing. Plus, you may be surprised at the good advice your teen may give you!


Holli, CEO and Mom of 7

Tip of the Week: Sexting & Texting


Recipe of the Week

Technology today is a very cool means to stay in touch with people you don’t see on an everyday basis.  It can instantaneously connect family members and it has changed how we as human beings interact while apart.  However, today’s modern technology can also have negative consequences for youth.   Most parents have heard of the term “sexting”.  Sexting is the exchange of nude or sexually suggestive images from one device to another.  Sexting may be consensual, and sexts may be sent back and forth from two people, or sexts may be sent only from one person to the other.  As a mom, this sends all sorts of scary thoughts into my head as far as the long-term consequences.

In videos and in TV shows, sexting is often portrayed as being a casual interaction between two people and portrayed as if it has no consequences. The truth is that someone under eighteen who takes a sexual picture, even of themselves, and sends it to someone can be charged with producing and distributing child pornography.  If the receiver then forwards the image to someone else, the receiver can also be charged with distributing child pornography.  The person who has the image in their device (phone, PC, laptop, tablet, etc.) is considered to be the owner of that image and can be implicated.  Even if the image is deleted from the screen, the image is still in the internal memory of the device.

Apps such as snapchat or kik are promoted as a way to send an image that will disappear after a few seconds. If the receiver knows how to save a screen shot, the receiver will be able to store that image forever in the memory of the device.  The sender ends up having NO control over who does or does not see the image or where it will go.

Talk to the children in your life about rules to use technology for all members of the family.  Dock phones at bed time to promote good sleep and decrease bad middle of the night decisions.  Place phones, TV and monitors out of sight during meal times so there is less distraction.  Have a device free day one day a week or once or twice a month to encourage family members to talk to each other face to face.

Keep eating with your family three times a week to help ensure your children will know you are interested in their lives and that they can trust you to listen when they need to talk.

Linda_Hathaway - 2012

Linda Hathaway
Director of Education & Curriculum

Tip of the Week: Year 3!


Tough Discussions
at the Family Table

Raising kids is hard work. Research shows significant benefits for families that eat together at least three times a week. Talking around the family table, even talking about those topics that can be tough to discuss, is essential for our families’ success. Game nights, meals, snacks and smiles, maybe even a few tears can all be found at the family table.

Over the next year, we will be bringing you the family table hints you love, but we will also be discussing how to talk about the following “tough” topics at the family table:

  • Nutrition and healthy eating
  • Snacking or how often to eat
  • Tobacco or alcohol use or abuse
  • Drug use, including prescription drug abuse
  • Teen parties
  • Dating guidelines
  • Bullying
  • Suicide or suicide prevention

We would love to have your feedback! If you have specific questions about these topics, or would like to see us discuss something in particular, please contact us at

As we closed out the second year of the Family Table project, we celebrated last Friday at  Fort4Fitness celebration dinner Friday, September 27, 2013.
Did you get your photo taken at Parkview Field on Friday night?
Check out our album to tag and share!

Congratulations to:

Lutheran Health Sports Center
Renee H., Fort Wayne
Sherri S., Fort Wayne

Olive Twist & Tanglewood Berry Farm
Chantell D., Fort Wayne

Bussick Orthodontics
Nancy Y., Fort Wayne

Sky Zone Trampoline Park
Margaret E., Fort Wayne

Waiter on the Way
Chris F., Fort Wayne

Crazy Pinz
Kyle F., Three Rivers, MI
Lisa B., Fort Wayne


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