Parenting Tips > Family

Raising a Happy Family

What does it take to create a happy family, when modern life threatens to overwhelm us? Here are six secrets of Happy Families that you can easily put to use in your own home to create a joyful and connected family, where everyone flourishes and even the teenager treasures family time.

Dinner: 30 Minutes to a More Connected Family

You’ve probably heard that having dinner together as a family is a good thing for your kids, but you may not realize that it could change your child’s life. Dinner is the best predictor we have of how kids will do in adolescence. The more frequently kids eat dinner with their families, the better they do in school, and the less likely they are to become sexually active, suffer depression, get involved with drugs or alcohol, or consider suicide. (Read article.)

Surviving Arsenic Hour

One of the reasons kids have meltdowns at the end of the day is that they're hungry and tired.  The other is that it's hard work for little people to keep it together all day in the face of all those developmental challenges.  The minute they see you, their "executive self" relaxes, and their "baby self" comes out to seek comfort from Mom.  Be ready to be emotionally present for your kids, and you'll stave off some meltdowns and set a pleasant tone for the evening.  How?  (Read article.)

Why Kids Need Routines & Structure

Kids thrive on routines and structure. A predictable routine allows children to feel safe, develop self-discipline. and gain a sense of mastery in handling their lives.  Here's how.  (Read article.)

The Family That Plays Together

Playing together is an almost magical way to build connection. It’s one of the fastest ways to heal bad moods and minor relationship stress. It brings the family into sync. It creates a happy feeling in your home. Sometimes it's the only way to manage a toddler or preschooler. And given how hard life can be at times, my opinion is that we need to seize all the joy, silliness, fun and humor we can get.  (Read article.)

Helping Siblings Get Along

If you have more than one child, you're bound to have some sibling rivalry.  It's very, very hard for children to have to share us.  Kids might also have personality clashes, or clashes because they're different ages and want different things --or because they're close in age and want the same things!  Even the most loving siblings have bad days and conflicts.  Your children can be friends for life, and your parenting can prevent and even transform sibling tensions. (Read article.)

Family Meetings

The idea of Family Meetings seems stilted and artificial to most families. It certainly did to me, when I first heard about it. But I've found them to be a invaluable addition to our family culture. Introducing them is the hard part; after that they take on a life of their own. In fact, once your kids see how great they are, don’t be surprised if they appropriate the meeting to explain that you’re embarrassing them in front of their friends, or that they need a raise in their allowance.  (Read article.)

Protective Parenting

Parents have always grappled with harsh realities to protect their children. But our culture poses risks that are difficult to navigate, because they aren't obviously dangerous. In fact, we take them for granted as we go about our busy lives.  (Read article.)

Sanctuary: Making Your Home a Haven

To flourish, we all need a safe place -- both physically and emotionally -- to come home to. If children are to turn their full attention to the many demands of growing up, they need a secure, solid home where they feel protected. Giving your children a sanctuary is an enormous gift. It allows them to go out and do battle in the world, and return home to recharge. It also gives your family culture the cozy nest it needs to thrive. Finally, research shows that adults who consciously create homes where they find nurturance and beauty report better moods and less stressful lives.  (Read article.)

Family Culture: Shared identity & belonging

How do you hold a family together? How do you make kids WANT to spend time with the family? How do you give your children the motivation to work things through with their siblings and with you? Much of the answer has to do with the family culture you create. Every family has one.  What's yours?  (Read article.)

Nature: Why Children -- and Parents -- Need the Great Outdoors

The average fifth grader, given a choice, prefers to stay inside, close to electrical sockets and all the entertainment sources they power. But your grandmother was right: Kids need fresh air and exercise. We all do. Kids who spend time outside in nature, research shows, are calmer, happier, less likely to be overweight, and do better in school. And families who find ways to be outdoors together nurture not only their bodies, but their connection to all of life -- and to each other.  (Read article.)

Divorce: How to Protect Your Child

If you're getting divorced,  you'll be heartened to know that the research shows kids can cope with a divorce and come out ok.  But often they don't.  In fact, many children whose parents make the decision to divorce are emotionally wounded in a way that lingers throughout their lives.  The good news is that we know what the risk factors are that leave kids scarred.  Here's how to protect your child.  (Read article.)