Make a dinner date, with your kids

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse encourages families to make a date for dinner on Monday

Story and photo by Christine June
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

Parents here may be getting invitations from their children to have dinner together Monday night.

***image1***The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at the Columbia University in New York City created CASA Family Day – “A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children” in 2001. This event is celebrated annually on the fourth Monday in September.

This national initiative is meant to remind parents about the importance of parental engagement in their children’s lives and to encourage them to have frequent family dinners as an effective way to prevent substance abuse. In other words, it’s a reminder of what really matters, said Jacqueline Frawley, the Kaiserslautern American Middle School’s Adolescent Substance Abuse Counseling Service counselor.

“Family is what really matters,” she said. “Parents count. Parents make a difference.” According to its official Web site, CASA reports that parents who have dinner with their children decreases the likelihood of them becoming involved with alcohol or drug abuse by 70 percent.

“Our lives get so busy we often have dinner on the run and lose precious time to talk with our children,” said Ms. Frawley. It’s not just about eating dinner. This observance is more focused on the conversation at the dinner table, said Ms. Frawley, who, last week, gave her students guidance on how to make the invitations for their parents.

Along with the standard when and where, questions are listed on the invitation, which are intended to start a conversation to discuss substance abuse.

Questions like: “What would you like me to do if other children ask me to try alcohol, drugs or tobacco?” or “What would you like me to do if I find out that children are using alcohol, drugs or tobacco at a party or event?”

Activities are being planned by the ASACS counselors at the Kaiserslautern middle and high schools to assist families in making this a meaningful event. These counselors are contractors with the U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern’s Army Substance Abuse Program.

For more information about family day, visit www.CASA For more information about activities at KAMS, call Ms. Frawley at 489-7453 or e-mail For Kaiserslautern American High School activities, e-mail Debra Morrison-Orton at