Kai time keeps Kiwis connected
How good are our family relationships? states that 59 percent of couples-without-children shared eight or more meals weekly. This compares with only around one-third of couples-with-children and sole-parent families.
“This difference is perhaps a result of staggered meal times, but it’s interesting to see that people without children share more meals together than those with children,” Ms Ramsay says.
The 'couple without children' will contain a large number of retirees. There are potentially 21 meals a week. Busy households with children and teenagers jostling over bathroom use in the morning won't be sitting down to eat together. And they won't be home at lunch time. Dinner? Very young children eating early, partners working late or doing shifts, teenagers in out-of school activities, etc.
Using 'eating together' as a proxy for relationship quality is troublesome in other ways too. I remember as a child all six of us ate together at six sharp. But we didn't talk. It was news time and woe betide anyone who talked over something Dad wanted to listen to.
Good time with my children is often in the car going into the city. Yes I ferry them in some mornings when their lessons/lectures coincide simply because we generally laugh a lot.
Anyway, what social policy will this revealing research 'inform' as they say? A major multi-member-meal education campaign? Far-fetched maybe, but so would the very idea of the survey been once, especially using public money.