Monday, February 3, 2014

The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve your mornings, tell you family history, fight smarter, go out and play, and much more by Bruce Feiler Litfuse Blog Tour

About the book: The book that revolutionized our view of what makes families happy . . .

Determined to find the smartest solutions and the most cutting-edge research about families, bestselling author and New York Times family columnist Bruce Feiler gathered team-building exercises and problem-solving techniques from the most creative minds---from Silicon Valley to the Green Berets---and tested these ideas with his wife and kids. The result is a lively, original look at how we can create stronger parent/child relationships, manage the chaos of our lives, teach our kids values and grit, and have more fun together.

The Secrets of Happy Families includes more than two hundred unique practices that will help your family draw closer and make everyone in your home happier. It has already changed the lives of millions of families, and it can do the same for yours.

Purchase a copy and download the Happy Families Toolkit:
My thoughts:
Who doesn't want a calmer morning or happier family times?  Because of this I was excited to read this book as part of a Litfuse Blog Tour.  Feiler interviewed families and experts to eek out tips that can make things run smoother for all of us.  There are tons of tips here, not all of which any one family will likely use, but with a good mix so families can pick the ones they feel work for their own needs.  I like that he doesn't try to paint his family as perfect, but shows how they overcame some of their own hurtles with the strategies he learned in his research.  It can feel like a slog to read a book where someone claims they have all the answers, and that is not the case here, Feiler shows by example what he saw and heard about and invites his readers to do what he or she needs to to find daily satisfaction.

One of my favorite tips from the book is to have a morning check list for children so they can be independent in the morning with their routines.  I have yet to get this fully in place for my children, but I absolutely love the idea of one day being able to step back more in the morning and to put the responsibility more on my children than on me to make sure everything is done and ready before we walk out the door.  Another is the idea of holding regular family meetings to find out what family members think went well during the week and what could go better.

To be a happy family you need to be able to adapt and change, things don't always have to stay the same because none of us stay the same all the time.  His key word is agile, make sure you are willing to change and incorporate in ideas from all family members, including of course, children.  Talk a lot about everything from the every day to the more complicated and complex. Lastly, make sure you are having fun together.  Play games, explore, enjoy family meals. 

Think about coming up with a family brand or motto. Some of the featured families made theirs into a plaque or sign that they posted or painted onto the wall in a prominent spot.   Set goals and check in with each other.  Fights are normal, make sure everyone is on equal footing and read body language, be fair.  Have tough conversations and use checklists.

I loved his example of the Green Beret who runs a program to teach people to work together.  Teach you family that it only works if it works for everyone.  The goal is that the whole family is happy, not just some of the family.

I've used the idea of the checklist with my own children and I love the ideas for topics of conversation at meals.  I plan to refer to the book from time to time for ways to help my family along the path of satisfaction and happiness.

Landing page: 

Purchase a copy and download the Happy Families Toolkit:

Meet the Author: Bruce Feiler writes a column in contemporary families for the New York Times and is the author of six consecutive New York Times bestsellers, including The Council of Dads. He is the host of several series on PBS, a popular lecturer, and a frequent commentator on radio and television. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and twin daughters.

Learn more about Bruce at:

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