Australian family dinners end in arguments

Herald Sun (Aust) July 02, 2009
FOR years families have been told not to eat dinner in front of the television but a survey of mothers shows it may be the least volatile mealtime option. The survey of 16,579 Australian mums found dinnertime for more than 40 per cent of families descends into arguments and acrimony. Asked what they normally did during dinner, 26.22 per cent said they discussed the day’s events or talked about topical issues, while 15.59 per cent quietly watched TV.  Almost eight per cent (7.74 per cent) said they told stories, the latest Voice of Aussie Mums survey conducted for Nestle found. However, for 40.45 per cent of families, dinner is an unpleasant experience, with the meal usually ending in an argument.

Despite the friction reported, former netball champion and Nestle spokeswoman Liz Ellis encouraged families to make an effort and try to eat together at the dinner table. More than 76 per cent of mums said sit-down meals strengthened their family’s communication, while 47.28 per cent believed it helped foster family traditions.

A total of 61.84 per cent said they usually ate dinner at the dining room table, 17.85 per cent in front of the TV, and 15.41 per cent at the kitchen bench or table. A small percentage, 4.9 per cent, eat on a sofa, reading the news or in other informal ways. But when asked where their kids usually had dinner, the numbers eating at the dinner table dropped dramatically.,21985,25721450-662,00.html