Reviewed by Poppy Johnson
The Secrets of Happy Families by Bruce Feiler offer advice for families who have become confused, unglued or gotten off track – but who may not yet know it. The author provides easy to follow steps to restoring a family balance by encouraging parents to spend more time with children, talking to them more and keeping the prize – a healthy and functional family – in sight. The book includes real life stories that highlight ideal ways to capture family time in a hectic existence (read: our lives), and gives guidance on how parents can develop minor and major strategies for restoring family order. It even includes a best practices guide for how to approach the subject of sex education with your child in a way that won’t embarrass either party.
I especially liked the section on how to keep siblings each other’s best friend because I used these same tips when my own children were small. Parents can help children resolve their own conflicts if they allow them to use the tools given to develop sibling rapport and trust instead of resorting to natural rivalries.
Some of the strategies in the book are super simple, such as bringing families together by dimming the lights to encourage intimate conversation among family members, or devising a checklist to solve family problems and resolve any issues.
Families should learn to challenge themselves for fun, but they should also just stop to take a few minutes to realize that with each passing year, the children are that much closer to moving out and starting a new career or just fulfilling a dream of self-development away from the family unit. I’d recommend this book to anyone with a family, or for young couples interested in starting a family. The Secrets of Happy Families will provide them with a great head start to a healthy family unit.
After a decade of working in several NYC law departments and teaching, Poppy decided she enjoyed writing full-time. She currently works as a freelance writing consultant, and lives with her husband and sons on the East Coast.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.