The Secrets Of Happy Families

What happy families do right, from telling the family story to creating healthy relationships  across generations.

Bruce Feiler and his family. (Photo by Kelly Hike)

Bruce Feiler and his family. (Photo by Kelly Hike)

We love to love and talk up family. Nothing better. Nothing dearer. But in the thick of it, in the heart of it, when the kids are young and the parents are working, and the sink is full of dishes, and somebody’s crying, and the car payment’s due, and you’re late for school, it can be pretty wild. Straight up hard.

Bruce Feiler was right there, in that spot – in the messy, madcap, impossible heart of it – and he thought ‘there has to be a better way’. He went asking, comparing, looking for advice. New ways.

This hour, On Point: the secrets of happy families.

-Tom Ashbrook


Bruce Feiler, author of “The Secret of Happy Families: Improve your mornings, rethink family dinner, fight smarter, go out and play, and much more.” (@brucefeiler)

Ann Smith, marriage and family therapist, executive director of the Breakthrough Program at Caron Treatment Centers. She also blogs regularly for Psychology Today.

From Tom’s Reading List

The Washington Post “Books about families fall into two categories: those proclaiming that we’re all doing it wrong (delivered with aFrench accent or the roar of a tiger mom)and those detailing just how ­badly the author’s parents messed up.”

The Huffington Post (Bruce Feiler) “Over the next week, tens of millions of people will do something so familiar it’s easy to forget how radical it is: They will commemorate the worst moments of their past. For Jews, the occasion is Passover, in which they relive their four centuries of slavery in Egypt. For Christians, the occasion is Easter, in which they painstakingly mark the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.”

The New York Times “Family stories are exactly what they sound like. They’re stories of our family history — how we got here, who came before us and what mattered along the way. They’re stories of our recent family past, little legends that define us and highlight what’s important. And they’re stories about our family present: this is why we do what we do, this is what’s important to us.”

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