In the story of Camelot, The first action Arthur took as king was to build a round table. The table was to be a perfect circle. Arthur explained the reason for this very clearly. He wanted a circle to ensure that no one was at the head of the table. He thought himself a knight before a king. He called himself, and his knights, “The Knights of the Round Table. At the table meals were always pleasant. It was not a table for resolving problems; it was a table for conversation, story telling and bonding. All those who sat at the table were equal, no knight spoke louder than another, no knight had a higher place of authority than any other at the table.
Have you ever sat down with your children and had to drag simple yes and no answers out of them? Why is that? It can be hard not to act like a parent at all times, but just as king Arthur realized that time as a knight was as important as time as a king, we as fathers and mothers must recognize that time as a family member is just as important as being the head of a household. As heads of household when we ask a question we want a definitive and straight forward answer. Often I can see myself through the eyes of my child as a secret police officer grilling a suspect who is much smaller than me under the light hanging over the table.
Try candle light diners with your family; let your children guide the conversation. Let your children ask you questions, let them tell a story, let them ask you for a story. You have a lot of experience, and a lot of interesting stories of things you did in your life, things that happened to you. Your kids want to know that kind of stuff. It will encourage them to tell you their own stories, they will want to try to make them more interesting than yours, but they will hope that you can relate to the experience they had. They will want to know how you would deal with the situation.
Don’t try to solve your children’s problems at the diner table, listen to them, show interest, but save the parental advice and correction until after diner. While your all at the table, their should be no judgment, and no authority.
Above all; MAKE TIME FOR FAMILY MEAL TIME! Children who have family meal times are less likely to do drugs, suffer from depression, or have social troubles. They are more likely to do well in school, be socially well rounded, and have a longer attention span.