I have many friends who regularly eat together as a family. They began having family dinners when their kids were young and still make time to enjoy meals together, even though their kids are grown. They gather at home or at restaurants. It gives them time to share stories about the day or what is happening in their lives.
We all live in such a busy world. Enjoying a meal together is a great way catch up with one another.
I always thought my sons and I would share these times together as well. Sadly, it didn’t turn out that way. When your kids’ schedules involve multiple weekly therapies, sessions often take place after school and during the dinner hour.
Therapy for kids with disabilities is important. But it can cut into family time. All too often, one child has therapy during dinner time—and the other child is starving. Your only option is to eat on the fly.
It’s even more of a problem when one child is on medication and doesn’t like to eat until 8:00 p.m.
Then there is the challenge of what to serve. I have two kids who have trouble with food because of the way it looks, smells, feels, or tastes. Cooking for my family is almost impossible.
I’ve had friends tell me that my home is not a restaurant. My kids should eat whatever I cook. It’s not that simple. If your child tells you that smelling or looking at the food makes them sick, how can you make them eat it?
I never forced my kids to eat something they didn’t want. While my younger son is a picky eater, he does eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, so I don’t complain. My older son now eats different foods and can usually find something almost anywhere we go.
But how often do we have a meal together? Not enough, in my opinion. I’d love it if we shared a family meal even once a week. My older son now has his own place and his own schedule, so planning time to be with him does not happen often.
Should I have insisted when they were younger that we eat together? Would this have made a difference? It’s hard to know what would have been. I just know that while I’m happy for families that spend quality time eating meals together, I wish my family had the same experience.
Sound familiar? Here are some resources to help families cope with mealtime obstacles:
I was surprised how parenting a kid with intensive needs affected my relationship with my older children and my extended family.
Categories: Family Support