How to Have a Happy Family

happy-family, Time Magazine, Fun with Depression, Satire
Image courtesy of http://www.time.com

I stumbled across an article today with a rather audacious title : How To Have A Happy Family – 7 Tips Backed By Research. The article included a picture of a typical happy family, which you can see above.  Just look at this family. They’re having a whale of a time. Clearly the small girl in this picture has made some kind of witty comment about the British economy and the whole family are just lapping it up.

I’m sure you have many questions. First of all, what are these tips? Maybe your family is on the verge of collapsing into apocalyptic chaos and the title of this article is, for you, a shining beacon of hope in a household filled with turmoil. Secondly, if you follow these tips, will your family look as happy as the family in this picture? Well let’s find out. Here are the 7 tips.

1. Having dinner together matters

…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.

That’s some list, eh? I wonder what it is about having dinner together that means that your children are less likely to get pregnant or drink. Perhaps the families that were studied had incredibly long dinners that lasted for several hours, the idea behind this being that the more time spent at dinner, the less time there is to take drugs, get pregnant or commit suicide. So, maybe you could have family dinners that have many small courses (start with five and work up). You could hire a team of staff to help you prepare these dinners.

2. Share the family history

Children who know the stories of those who came before them have higher self-esteem and a sense of control over their lives.

Interesting.  Although, how boosted your self-esteem is might depend on who it was that came before you. Personally, my family came from Irish gypsies, and while I have nothing against Irish gypsies, I don’t think that my self-esteem was particularly boosted by the discovery.

3. Reduce Stress

Studies have shown that parental stress weakens children’s brains, depletes their immune systems, and increases their risk of obesity, mental illness, diabetes, allergies, even tooth decay.

I don’t have any stress reducing tips myself. Maybe tranquilizers? Not a fan? Look, your child’s teeth might be decaying as we speak. This is not the time for half measures!

4. Be part of a larger community

Tons of research shows religious families are happier.

If you are religious, then that’s just dandy. But what if you aren’t religious? Perhaps you could enroll the entire family in the local choir. If it’s a gospel choir then that’s a double whammy.

5. Use check-lists

Well that’s obvious. Parents love check-lists. In fact, I would imagine that there is probably some research out there that suggests that checking something off a check-list releases endorphins.

I’m not sure if children love check-lists, but in order to address this, the articles suggests that you “sit down with them and say, ‘Hey, girls, I’m trying to improve how we travel, so I made a checklist. Does this make sense to you? What else can you add?’ ”. 

This could be useful, although I can see this check-list business getting out of hand.

Dad: Hey kids, I’m thinking of improving the way that we shower in this house. So, I thought I’d write a Shower Checklist. Does this make sense to you?

Child: Not really, Dad.

6. Empower the children!

Down with parental dictatorship! Kids do better when they make plans themselves or at least have a say. You should even allow them to pick their own punishments. It creates greater motivation to obey the rules.

I must say that I like the idea of this. However, the problem is that if there are two parents and more than two children, the children may realise that they outnumber their parents, and may stage a campaign to overthrow their parents, thereby gaining complete control over everything household related. So, I’d advise caution.

7. Grandmothers have superpowers

Scores of studies show the incredible benefits that grandmom brings, like teaching kids to cooperate and to be compassionate.

I’m a huge fan of grandmothers. My grandmother is a great woman. I wouldn’t say that she has superpowers, though. She’s can’t leap over tall buildings. But she is wonderful all the same.

I have one burning question which has not been addressed yet. If you follow these tips, will you be as happy as the family in the picture above? Well, I think the answer to that is no. Sorry to disappoint you, but I’d imagine that the people in the above picture are not a family, but are merely actors. For all I know, Denim Dad might be an actor/waiter who takes drugs at the weekend. I must admit to being quite disappointed myself. Didn’t they look so convincing?

Read the article which I’m talking about here: How To Have A Happy Family 7 Tips Backed By Research

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2 thoughts on “How to Have a Happy Family”

  1. This was really funny and an excellent analysis. Also, does it seem odd that they are all sitting so close together on just one side of their table? Is that just the happy half of the family?

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