Sunday, September 7, 2014

Some Tips for Having a Strong, Happy Family

I recently read an interesting article on 6 Things the Happiest Families Have in Common. I don't find any of them surprising, though many in our hectic and fractured society might. Research keeps showing that the traditional family activities that people used to do were best after all.

Here's my take on the article:

1. The #1 predictor of a child's emotional well-being is knowing their family history. This is one of the reasons it is so important to have intact families and for children to live with and be raised by their married parents. Having a stable home with married parents gives children the family history and sense of belonging they need for their well-being.

2. Families need goals and to share these goals with their children. They need a mission statement - something they are all on board with and working toward. This brings families together and gives them a sense of purpose. Men are especially good at having overarching goals and working to achieve them, and that is one of the reasons we need men leading their families, not absent. It is especially important in Christian families for men to lead the family toward the goal of obeying and serving God.

3. Family meals together are very important. Not only is it a health issue (healthier food and slower eating), but the socialization of families eating and talking together is vital.

"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. ...[T]he amount of time children spent eating meals at home was the single biggest predictor of better academic achievement and fewer behavioral problems."

Parents also get a chance at sit-down mealtimes to assess their children's health, behavior, and attitude and engage them in conversation on a wide variety of topics. This provides parents with information about their child's well-being, a connection to their children, and a pleasant way of imparting knowledge, among other things.

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