When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.† ~Joyce Brothers
Go to any restaurant—any family restaurant, that is—and take a look around. You can probably figure out pretty easily which familes are content and which ones are unhappy. Whether it’s the facial expressions, the screaming kids or the quarrelsome parents, it’s hard to miss them.
But what about the happy families? Can you pick them out as well? They’re probably the ones where peace reigns around the table and everyone has happy faces.
Is this a gross generalization? Well. . .yes. Plenty of happy families have their moments of tension and upset, and plenty of unhappy families have moments of joy. So then what makes up a happy family?
While this is clearly a matter of opinion in many ways, I think there are a few elements upon which most people can agree.
In happy families, the children are well-behaved without being automatons. They respect their parents and their siblings. They understand the rules that exist, and even when they don’t necessarily agree, they try to follow those rules. They feel loved and secure in their own unique position in the family structure.
In happy families, the parents are also well-behaved. They don’t throw fits at soccer games or place unreasonable demands on their children. They respect their children and understand that they are individuals with feelings and needs. They exercise a form of lenient dictatorship or limited democracy; everyone is heard, but not everyone can be in charge.
So how do you get from to that point? What secrets do the parents (and children!) in happy families understand that escapes others?
That’s what we’re going to explore in this series of articles. So whether you find yourself struggling with elements of your family life that frustrate you, or you’re just beginning your adventure as a family and want some tips, keep reading.
NEXT WEEK: Part 2: Who’s In Charge
Tawdra Kandle has completed 3 young adult novels and is currently working on her forth. She is a contributor for Taking Time for Mommy – Online Magazine for Moms sharing her homeschooling adventures and couponing tips. She is also an administrator of the Time 4 Mommy Community and heads up our Writing Group.
You can find Tawdra on Twitter and follow her blog Publishing Quest.
This is very interesting post! Thank you for sharing your thoughts about happy family. I’m looking forward to your part 2:Who’s In Charge post.
Agreed, great article! Thanks for sharing.
The Slacker Mom says
I don’t know- at first glance, we might look like that “unhappy” family with the kids who don’t listen. We have 3 kids under 3, 2 with autism, going out anywhere is a lesson in survival. But we do it, because we still get to live our lives as we please and doing these things together (no matter how crazy it might be in the moment) is part of being a family.
But, from the outside looking in, if we’re going by your guidelines, we’d be considered “unhappy”. Which couldn’t be further from the truth. It’s great to know that not only do I have to worry about looking like I can’t discipline my kids (or that my kids are brats), I now get to worry that it looks like we are also unhappy as a family. Thanks for the enlightenment!
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Tawdra Kandle says
I have privately apologized to ‘Slacker Mom’, but I wanted to publicly say that I regret anything in my article that might have hurt her. I am personally acquainted with the angst and challenges of autism, and I should have made it more clear that I was referring to a completely different type of scenario.
Parents of special needs children deserve a recognition beyond that which is in my power to give. I would never, ever intentionally insinuate that those families are less happy or fulfilled than any other.
My sincere apologies to anyone who was hurt by this article.