Pizza is a cornerstone to many middle-class American diets. Not only is it an important part of the diet, it is an important part of the family structure of many families. Pizza Fridays are universally enjoyed across almost all American families, often happening due to parents being too tired to cook by the end of the week, or to celebrate payday. Many families just do pizza because everybody loves it, and they want one night a week where nobody is complaining about having to eat vegetables (although there are some pretty good pizzas that include vegetables as toppings!). We like to think of this in a positive spin, however, and focus on the family bonding that happens during these Pizza Fridays.
All families have their own traditions; this is a critical component of familial structures and is a cause of building strong bonds between people. Many of our family traditions are surrounding religious and cultural holidays, such as having a seven-fish dinner on Christmas Eve, if you have an Italian background, or breaking the wishbone on Thanksgiving. While these family traditions are very clearly important; the more mundane traditions are actually significantly more important when it comes to building trust and bonds between people.
One important factor about the less celebrated, more common, traditions, such as pizza Fridays, is that they create consistency for children. Consistency and knowing that the same thing will happen every week can be a source of great comfort. Denise, a mother of seven, always made sure to have a Friday movie night with her husband and children, which they are now doing with their significant others and children. Knowing that this would happen every single Friday built trust within their relationships that then spilled over into other portions of their lives. No matter how crazy or stressed-out their weeks were, her kids always knew that family movie night was a sacred night that was never subject to be taken away as a punishment. When asked why this was important, Denise states that “Family time is for bonding. Even if you’re just hanging out side by side watching movies, you’re still strengthening your relationship. That’s why it’s important never to remove family time or traditions like family movie night for bad behavior. There’s actually an argument to be made that the worse the behavior, the more you NEED family time.”
These traditions give us a sense of belonging within our families. They are a shared experience between parents and children, and between siblings, that cross over through our lives. These experiences will be different for every family, as well, and that’s great. For pizza Fridays, you may choose to go out to eat pizza at a nice restaurant downtown and then finish off the evening by checking out the local art galleries and grabbing a gelato. You may choose to make your own individual pizza from scratch so that every family member can have their ideal toppings, and then eat it on your deck. You may choose to pick up, take out, and eat it in front of a movie in your pajamas. You may even choose to do all three of these, depending on how your week was and what you feel up to that evening. However you choose to celebrate pizza
Friday, or whatever weekly family tradition you pick, the important thing is that you are consistent with the tradition and that you spend time together as a family.
This stability not only helps to create bonding within families, but it goes into all parts of a child’s development. Studies have shown that children who have stability and routines at home are more likely to excel academically and socially. An argument can also be made then that having pizza every Friday can even help your child become a better-adjusted human!