The Psychology Of Shabbat: How Eating Together Helps Your Teen Succeed

The world today is changing faster than any time in history. We are more connected than ever as we speak to friends and relatives halfway across the world with the click of a button. 

Technology has been one of the greatest gifts that modernity has given us, but it has also given us a complex pool of situations and boundaries to navigate effectively. 

We all know that having a set time to eat together can connect us with our children, but what really is it about the concept of togetherness (in this case Shabbat dinner) that’s so good for our children? Shabbat dinner is meant to be a time where your family reconnects. Even if you are not shomer shabbat, there is inherent value in taking a pause, even for a meal, and sitting together without phones buzzing in pockets. Here are three benefits that your children gain when you sit down together phone-free.

A Practice In Mindfulness

The most challenging things we as parents face today is finding a way to get our kids away from their phones. Gen Z is the first generation to have grown up completely surrounded by technology, and, because of this, their dependence is much higher than millennials (born between 1982-1995). Having periods of time without technology is crucial for attention span and an ability to be present. Many kids in Gen Z actually find themselves getting anxious when they are away from their phones. Having a time during the week where parents can lessen this attachment, even for a few hours, will help kids loosen their holds on their phones and be more mindful in their day-to-day activities.

A Much Needed Pause

Life is busy, exceptionally busy, and it’s not often that we get a few hours during an evening to just pause and have nowhere to be. Establishing a time during the week for nothing but family time and conversation can reduce stress significantly, and is linked to a 50% increase in longevity over a person’s life span.  A whopping 90% (!!) of Gen Zs say they’re stressed out. Giving kids a structured time to just chill out each week is an effective way to reduce stress and also a great way for you as a parent to find out what’s stressing them out. Kids who have meals with their families are actually more likely to be open about what’s going on in their lives, and talking it out in a relaxed setting can significantly reduce stress according to a study done by the University of Florida.

Better Relationships

Having dinner together as a family at a regular time makes it easier to establish moments of quality time. Kids who have dinner with their parents at least once a week have better relationships with their parents and siblings. Having shabbat dinner also forces parents to turn off their devices and give children their undivided attention. As parents, we can also sometimes fall victim to too much screen time. Really taking the time to listen to your kids fosters better relationships, and in turn makes your children feel more supported.

What do you think? Do you think sharing a weekly Shabbat dinner with your family will help forge closer bonds with your teens? Let us know in the comments below.

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