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Tighten Family Ties from the Dining Table

Tighten Family Ties from the Dining Table
"Why are today's families so fragmented, juvenile delinquency, pornography, drug abuse, and divorce here and there? All of this happened because of the lack of communication and time to talk in the family, even to just eat together "(Roslina Verauli, Psychologist). 

We are in the era of the industrial revolution 4.0. The Industrial Revolution 4.0 is both a hope and a challenge for families in Indonesia. Families are now required to adapt to technological advances that are increasingly developing and affecting the lives of each member structurally and culturally.

Industrial Era 4.0 is characterized by the activity and mobility of every high family member which causes limited time to gather with the family and almost none. Though experts say time with family is the basis for forming harmony and harmonious family.

A harmonious family, peace full of love, and a sense of security is a good vehicle for growth and development of children including psychological development. Conversely, research shows children who grow up from chaotic, vulnerable families, there is no sense of security, children tend to have a sense of empathy, lack of tolerance, and children are aggressive.

Amid the high mobility of parents, there is a spirit to arrange time together so that family harmony is maintained. However, due to the demands of work the spirit is only a spirit. The role and function of parents are not optimal.

The role of fathers and mothers as instructors, accompanying their children is not running optimally. Father and mother as role models fail to show. When gathering together, most of the time is spent in front of a TV screen or smartphone respectively. Children are too absorbed in surfing in cyberspace looking for entertainment, as well as other family members.

Then how to overcome it? Is it enough through emoticons, emojis, and video calls? Increasingly sophisticated technology has linked individuals in real-time and is not constrained by distance and time. We can call, write text messages, send emails, teleconferences, and even communicate visually with Skype. All of this makes us feel more like communicating with modern equipment that is "enough" to forget the actual physical face-to-face conversation.

A family observer once stated that the most intensive interactions occur when people touch each other. Although information technology offers many sophisticated devices, it does not meet the essence of people's need for communication: the physical and emotional touch that is only obtained when face-to-face, is in the same time and space. Physical touch and emotional expression cannot be typed or represented by emoticons, emojis, and even video calls.

A study conducted in 2015 then showed that the culture of gathering and eating with family had begun to erode (Ibrahim, in Triananda, 2015). As many as 20 percents of 1,165 respondents said they rarely eat with family at home.

Five out of 10 men claimed they did not have time to eat with family at home because they were too busy. Similar reasons were found in teen respondents. About 26 percent of teenage respondents said they were busy and bored with the menus that were served as the reason they were reluctant to eat at home with family.

The Back to Dining Table Movement is a joint effort to remind Indonesian families of the importance of taking time to gather and communicate with family members. The word "dining table" does not mean there must be a dining table, but it implies using the opportunity/momentum to eat to gather and communicate.

Why when eating? Because in general there is a similarity in eating time, namely morning (breakfast), lunch (lunch), and dinner (dinner). Three times a day and 21 times a week. It would be better if these mealtimes were used by Indonesian families to gather (eat together) and communicate.

Momentum/opportunity to eat together can be used by Indonesian families to communicate directly (face to face). Communication can be done before or after eating, not when eating (chewing food) so that it is not at all contrary to local wisdom who believes "not good/ethical eating while talking".

Eating with family at home is a precious moment of togetherness. Although it sounds simple, this activity holds a positive impact that can help strengthen family harmony and determine the close relations between family members. If it becomes a daily habit, children will grow up healthy because of healthy family relationships (Ibrahim, in Triananda, 2015).

Therefore spend 15-30 minutes, there is no specific time for families to gather with family members. But at least spend about 15-30 minutes (Ibrahim, in Triananda, 2015). Another opinion states that it is enough to spend about 20 minutes a day (Surapaty, 2015).

With the availability of all kinds of communication facilities, a person needs a communication strategy. We are the ones who need to choose and determine when to communicate. We need to be able to decide to change the smartphone to "silent" or "switch off" mode when "me time" and when interacting with family (family time).

The benefit of gathering with family is building family resilience. A study published in the journal Family Relations states families who often do joint activities will have strong emotional ties and can adapt well which will eventually build family resilience. Doing a hobby together, exercising, watching movies, and reading books are examples of activities that can create a harmonious family.

Together with family makes children and teenagers not feel awkward with their parents. With frequent activities together, the communication that is established will be better.

Eating together can be a means of increasing communication between family members. Conversations at the dinner table can build good relationships within the family and create openness. Parents can provide input and solutions to problems faced by children, as well as knowing the activities of children outside the home.

Gathering time is the right moment for people to instill character values ​​in children. Teaching and reminding family functions such as the function of religion, education will help build discipline, honesty which are values ​​of integrity.

Frequent activities with parents will make children feel valued. He also has a more positive and confident outlook. This condition will certainly have a good impact on their achievements in school.

Children and adolescents who spend more time with parents tend not to be associated with negative habits. According to a study conducted by the University of Minnesota in 2008, adolescents who had dinner with family five or more times a week tended to avoid the risk of drug abuse, compared to teens who were less than twice a week having dinner with family.

Time spent with family will create happy moments that will continue to be remembered. Children who grow up in happy families tend to create the same loving environment for future children.

Family meals have been shown to provide good nutrition for children for their growth. A more regular diet and nutrition and vitamins that are more concerned by mothers when cooking will be healthier for children and increase their enthusiasm for the activity.

Because of this, I pushed my movements back to the dining table. Towards XXVI National Family Day 2019, which is momentum for Indonesian families to recall the importance of the family, the National Population and Family Planning Agency (BKKBN) appealed to Indonesian families to participate in the Return to the Dining Table Movement by "taking time to gather and establish communication with family at least 15 minutes ".

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