For the next few months, I am going to do a brief recap of some powerful parenting (with educational topics) books I’ve read.
Sometimes reading quotes from books helps shift my mindset on certain topics and gets me focused on what’s really important when raising children.
Book Title: The Secrets of Happy Families
Author: Bruce Feiler
In The Secrets of Happy Families, New York Times bestselling author Bruce Feiler has drawn up a blueprint for modern families — a new approach to family dynamics, inspired by cutting-edge techniques gathered from experts in the disciplines of science, business, sports, and the military.
The result is a funny and thought-provoking playbook for contemporary families, with more than 200 useful strategies, including: the right way to have family dinner, what your mother never told you about sex (but should have), and why you should always have two women present in difficult conversations…
Timely, compassionate, and filled with practical tips and wise advice, Bruce Feiler’s The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More should be required reading for all parents.
This book had a TON of really great ideas to put into action in our home. I listened to it and found myself rewinding to take notes. I especially liked the chapter that discussed different ways families handle chores in the home.
Top Ten Quotes:
- “A recent wave of research shows that children who eat dinner with their families are less likely to drink, smoke, do drugs, get pregnant, commit suicide, and develop eating disorders. Additional research found that children who enjoy family meals have larger vocabularies, better manners, healthier diets, and higher self-esteem.”
- “In his work as a management consultant, Covey often asked his corporate clients to write a one-sentence answer to the question “What is this organization’s essential mission or purpose and what is its main strategy to accomplish that?” DO THIS FOR YOUR FAMILY!
- “Create a safe zone. Every parent quickly learns that every child—and every adult—handles conflict differently. Some push back when criticized, some turn inward, some break down in tears.”
- “The Starrs came up with a modified three questions for their family meeting. 1. What things went well in our family this week? 2. What things could we improve in our family? 3. What things will you commit to working on this week?”
- “By picking their own punishments, children become more internally driven to avoid them. By choosing their own rewards, children become more intrinsically motivated to achieve them. Let your kids take a greater role in raising themselves.”
- “The more kids remembered about their own history, the more confidence they had to approach challenges in their lives. Especially before a big test, sporting event, or other high-stress moment, encourage your children to tell stories about their past successes or how they overcame failure. It will boost their performance.”
- “We adopted a watered-down version of the Harvard blueprint with our daughters. First, separate siblings for a few minutes to let everyone calm down. (In negotiation speak, this is “step to the balcony.”) Encourage everyone to come up with at least two solutions. (This breaks the “my way is the only way” problem.) Then vote on the winner. As one instructor at the Harvard Negotiation Project, who’s also a dad, told me, these ideas may be better suited to families. “In the workplace, you can avoid conflict,” he said, “but at home, you can’t.”
- “On spending time together… “The bottom line: we have our jobs, we work on those; we have our hobbies, we work on those; we have our bodies, we work on those. Our families are the biggest key to our overall happiness. If we spend just a little time working on them, we’ll make our overall lives happier.”
- “Family dinner is also a good time for play, introducing family rituals or solving a problem. Here are some practical examples:
- Autobiography night—One night a week, ask your children (age five and up) to recall a memorable experience from either that day or the past. Then follow up with “elaborative questions” such as who, what, when, where and why? These will help build memory and identity.
- Pain point night—One night a week, ask everyone in the family to bring up a “pain point.” It could be a child who has to do a class project with a kid he or she doesn’t like, or Mom having to take her mother to see an eye doctor at the same time she had a parent-teacher meeting scheduled. Soon, everyone will start to dissect the problem and devise possible solutions, all elements of good problem-solving.
- Bad and good night—Another fun way to bond is to go around the table asking everyone to say one good thing that happened today, and one bad thing that happened.
- If your family doesn’t care for games, then just talk to each other. But in order to make it meaningful and ensure no one gets left out, adopt the “10-50-1 rule”—10 minutes of quality conversation per meal; let your kids speak at least 50% of the time; teach your kids one new word every meal.”
- “The key to marital happiness is learning to speak the language of the other person. The five love languages are:
- Words of affirmation. Using compliments and expressions of appreciation like, “You’re the best husband in the world” or “I admire your optimism.”
- Gifts. Bringing flowers, leaving love notes or buying tokens of affection.
- Acts of service. Doing something for your partner you know he or she would like you to do, like doing the dishes, walking the dog or changing a diaper.
- Quality time. Giving your partner your undivided attention by turning off the television, sharing a meal or taking a walk together.
- Physical touch. Holding hands, putting your arm around your partner or tussling their hair (if that’s the sort of thing they like).
Join our private Facebook Group: Empowering Kids with Character. You don’t want to miss the amazing and awesome tips and tricks that is being shared by parents and educators alike!