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6 things the happiest families all have in common

Came across this post on the 6 things the happiest families all have in common. Here's a clip:

Family life is hectic. Most of us play it by ear and hope it works out well.

Or maybe you haven't started a family yet but when you do you want to do it right.

Aren't there some legit answers out there about what creates the happiest families? Yes, there are.

To get the facts I called Bruce Feiler, author of the New York Times bestseller, The Secrets of Happy Families.

When writing his book, Bruce knew there were answers already out there — but not necessarily where we'd expect.

He found solutions to common family problems in business theory, Harvard negotiation techniques, and even by talking to Green Berets.

Below you'll learn:

The number one predictor of your child's emotional well-being.

The number one predictor of their academic achievement — and behavior problems.

And the simple thing that steers kids away from drugs, toward better grades, and even improves their self-esteem. And more.

Here's what makes strong, happy families:

1) Create a family mission statement

I asked Bruce what he would recommend if he could only give one piece of advice.

He said: "Set aside time to talk about what it means to be a part of your family."

Ask: "What are your family values?" In business-speak: Develop a mission statement for your family.

Here's Bruce:

Initiate a conversation about what it means to be a part of your family. Sit down with them and say "Okay, these are our ten central values."

"This is the family we want to be. We want to be a family that doesn't fight all the time." or "We want to be a family that goes camping or sailing" or whatever it might be.

When my family did it, it was literally a transforming experience. We ended up printing it and it hangs now in our dining room.

Does "defining values" seem too big and intimidating? It's really nothing more than setting goals.

Here's Bruce:

Did we do every one of those things every day, every week, every month? No, that's not that point. But the point is, when it goes wrong, you have that goal out there. "We want to be a family that has fun together. Have we made time to play recently? No, we don't. So let's make time to play. Let's go bowling or hiking or roller skating."

You have goals at work. You have personal goals. Why wouldn't you have goals as a family?

(For more on the science of happy families, click here.)

So you and your family discussed your values and came up with a mission statement. What other thing did Bruce say was vital?

Like the mission statement, it's another story. But it's not about the future — it's about the past.

2) Share your family history

Research shows whether a kid knows their family history was the number one predictor of a child's emotional well-being.

Here's Bruce:

…researchers at Emory did this study that showed that the kids who know more about their family history had a greater belief that they could control their world and a higher degree of self-confidence. It was the number one predictor of a child's emotional well-being.

And research confirms that meaning in life is all about the stories we tell ourselves.

But here's what's really interesting: recounting your family history is not just telling kids, "Our family is awesome."

Recounting the tough times, the challenges your family faced and overcame, is key.

Here's Bruce:

Understanding that people have natural ups and downs allows kids to know that they too will have ups and downs. It gives them the confidence to believe that they can push through them. It gives them role models that show your family's values in practice.

(For more on how to make your kids smarter, click here.)

Mission statements, family history… that's a lot of talking. When is all this supposed to happen? Whenever you get around to it? No way.

Click here to read the rest.