Increasing Family Happiness

I once heard a family counselor say that sometimes non-family members feel more like family than blood relatives.

He also said every family is dysfunctional – some more than others – so get over it.

For those of us who have witnessed the heartbreak of alcohol or drug addiction and other conditions that lead to heartbroken families, there is no ruder awakening than the realization that no one’s family is perfect.

Here are some secrets to a happier family:

1. Forgive, but don’t necessarily forget.

2. Maintain healthy boundaries or risk losing your soul.

3. Communicate – share stories.

4. Eat a meal together – digital devices off (and that means you, too, mom and dad)

5. Build rituals – pizza nights, movies, sporting events, etc.

6. Communicate directly and openly without shouting

It doesn’t take perfection or total agreement to improve family life.

I met a couple who had two wayward teenagers that almost led them to the brink of divorce.  So they rented a Winnebago, set out on a three week summer tour of the nation’s national parks and expected all hell to break loose in that confined space.

But instead, their relationships improved as they did the one thing they were not able to do in their workaday world – focus on each other.

“I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life” – Maya Angelou

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