What do happy families share? These seven things to begin with…
A recent study spanning across seven countries and conducted by Fisher-Price confirmed that the one thing that most mums wish for their children is happiness. Seeing our children sad, frustrated, depressed or anxious is difficult to say the least. And while there is no magic ingredient we can feed our children to ensure they are constantly happy, according to The Secrets of Happy Families, New York Times bestselling author Bruce Feiler, there seems to be a few trends in what happy families have in common.
Happy families have…a family mission statement
We create goals for ourselves on a regular basis – fitness goals, work goals, personal goals. So why not do the same with your family? Create a family mission statement that helps define the values that matter the most to everyone.
Happy families try… to find daily quality time
For most families, dinner time is quality family time. If you or your partner works nights or shift work, then dinner may not be suited to you but try and make sure you have at least a half an hour every day to spend time together without any distractions. No television. No mobile phones. No iPads.
Happy families have… an understanding of the past
Knowing your family history can bring pride and understanding to your children. It can help get them interested in history and give them a better understanding of where they have come from and what that means.
Happy families have . an equal say
Everyone in the household should be created equal. Sure, you’re the boss and you make the rules about what’s for dinner and when it’s bedtime but your children should always feel like they have a right to express their thoughts, feelings and opinions.
Happy families aim for… a weekly meeting
Set up twenty minutes a week to have a family meeting. Talk about the highlights and lowlights of the week before and what’s on the agenda for the week ahead. Talk about goals you want to meet and if you happen to meet these goals, then perhaps offer a family reward.
Happy families know…the right way to fight
Arguing is perfectly normal and natural, especially if everyone feels comfortable enough to voice their opinion and express their feelings. No one is going to agree with each other all the time but, turns out, there is a right way and a wrong day to fight.
Bruce Feiler suggests that when things start to get heated, separate everybody for a bit of a breather. Ask everyone to come up with three options to the solution to the problem and then bring everyone back together to discuss the decision moving forward.
Happy families… play together
There is nothing more important than having fun together, as a family. Try to schedule a family fun afternoon once a week (or once a month) where you get out of the house together. Go the beach. Go to a park. Go for a hike or simply jump in the car and explore a new area where you have never been before.
Relationships are hard work and even the strongest families have good and bad days. There will be times when you feel so overwhelmed with love for your partner and your children and other times when you will be on the verge of throwing a shoe at their heads (probably a dirty shoe that the kids were supposed to pick up off the floor and put away).
Lead by example and try to ensure you are as happy as you can be. Eliminate the things in your life, from friendships to unhealthy habits that could be making things toxic for you.