The readers’ forum

Family Day: With kids, every moment matters


Family Day is a national initiative that promotes simple acts of parental engagement to help prevent substance use and other risky behaviors in children and teens. While it started out in 2001 as a grassroots effort to inform parents about all the benefits of frequent family dinners, it has been expanded to encourage parents to stay connected to their children at various times throughout the day, such as driving children to and from school and activities and tucking them into bed. This is a positive step, as each of these moments offers an opportunity for parents to communicate with their kids and to really listen to what’s on their minds. Connecting with children several times throughout the day also enhances the quality of the time families share around the dinner table.

Whether it is mealtime, bedtime, playtime or downtime, what really matters is taking the time to connect with your children on a regular basis. Studies have shown that when parents make a point to stay connected to their children, children are more likely to develop healthy behaviors and succeed in school and less likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors like smoking, drinking, and using drugs.

Research has also shown that a close bond between parents and their children is a protective factor against child abuse and neglect. DCF Interim Secretary Esther Jacobo recently acknowledged the positive impact of strong family bonds, saying, “Something as simple as sharing a meal can help create a family bond and a sense of belonging for a child who is struggling. In today’s fast-paced world we cannot forget how important these moments with our children are for both children and parents. A strong family unit is powerful prevention.”

On Sept. 23, parents and community leaders alike are encouraged to recognize the important role parental engagement plays in positive child and adolescent development. Parents and caregivers need to set aside time to connect with their children, while business owners and community leaders need to support family-friendly policies that make it easier for parents to succeed at their most important jobs: raising the next generation.

Anita Odom, executive director, Prevent Child Abuse Florida, Tallahassee

Read more Letters to the Editor stories from the Miami Herald

  • Respect is missing

    I remember, 32 years ago, as a new wife and stepmother, saying to my new family: "You don't have to love me, but you are going to respect me in this house." Anything worthwhile takes time, patience and respect for others and their personal frame of reference. That is sorely absent in our world today, especially from those for whom they are of the utmost importance.

  • The readers’ forum

    The Americans with Disabilities Act opened doors

    July 26 marked the anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a landmark law passed in 1990 that for the first time in our history created nationwide standards for combating discrimination against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodation, communications, telecommunications relay services and government activities.

  • Lure of free money

    If Joy-Ann Reid were honest, she would tell folks that the ACA was written by Democrats specifically to prevent people who enroll in the federal exchange from receiving subsidies, as subsidies would be available only in the state run exchanges. The Democrats thought the lure of free money would encourage the states to set up their own exchanges. This was no drafting error, as plainly seen by the wording of the act, which in several sections clearly stated that subsidies would be for state exchanges only. Democrats wrote and passed this bill, apparently without reading it.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category