Secret No. 1: Enjoy Each Other
The essence of a happy family is that they truly uplift each other and that all comes down to how they treat each other. There is a joy that characterizes their interaction. Parents come home and the kids are happy to see them and when kids come home, the parents are happy to see them.
Secret No. 2: Swap Stories
When your kids come home, ask them what happened in school and have a story for them. If you come home dejected and not really interested and then five minutes later the TV is on, why would they be happy to see you? The bottom line is that when you come home, your kids have to come first. You must drop everything you are doing and always come home with something to share with your kids, whether a story or even the smallest vignette. This way you give your kids something to look forward to. The great bane of family life is boredom and that is what leads to dysfunction, affairs, and kids wanting to be with their friends over family.
Secret No. 3: Put the Marriage First
Set a real example of love. The relationship and marriage must come first. Think Carol and Mike Brady of the Brady Bunch and Cliff and Clair Huxtable of the Cosby Show. There are many families where kids always come first. Then they become substitute providers of love. That’s an unfair burden to put on a kid. It’s also bad for families because kids will move out of the house eventually.
Secret No. 4: Break Bread Together
Families that eat together, stay together. It’s that simple. Family dinners are essential. It’s a time to connect. Have a minimum of four family dinners per week.
Happy Family Secret No. 5: Play Together Have one or two unifying activities that the family does together on a nightly basis. We suggest bedtime stories for young children or reading a chapter from a novel to an older child.
Secret No. 6: Put Family Before Friends
In happy families, family comes before friends. The camp counselor understands something that parents don’t and that is that caring for kids also has to be fun. Give rules, but understand that kids need fun, too. When kids get bored and listless, they start looking for excitement out of the home and that is when friends become more important. Friendship is important, but subordinate to family.