A Parent's Guide

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For the Shea family, dinnertime is the most important after school activity there is. But it wasn't always that way.

With a husband who wasn't a big eater, one son who was very picky, and three younger boys, robin says fixing a big dinner wasn't a priority until she felt her family drifting apart.

After hearing a speaker in Dallas talk about creating a safe space at your dinner table for your family, robin realized a family dinner was no longer going to be an option in her house.

So for the past year, Colton, Mac, Rylan and Rody have joined hands with mom and dad at the dinner table and said what they are thankful for.

The Sheas say there is no question it's brought the family closer together and made the boys more responsive to their requests. And it's also shown them that they are their parent's number one commitment.

Robin admits some nights are a struggle but says there has to be a level of forgiveness. And the Shea family says their time together has made the boys appreciate each other’s unique differences.

Robin sees the family dinner as a way of protecting her children almost the same way we protect children by buckling them in car seats.

The national center on addiction and substance abuse, or CASA, conducted a survey that found the more regularly children and their parents ate dinner together, the less children were at risk to smoke, drink, and use drugs.