Check out this recent article in the New York Times about what makes a successful family tick.
It all starts with a “Do You Know?” list of 20 questions to ask your children that has become the best single predictor of children’s emotional health and happiness. Questions include, “Do you know where your grandparents grew up? Do you know where your mom and dad went to high school? Do you know where your parents met? Do you know an illness or something really terrible that happened in your family? Do you know the story of your birth?”
It turns out the more children know about their family’s history, the stronger their sense of control is over their lives, the higher their self-esteem and the more successfully they believe their families function. In other words, they possess a strong “intergenerational self.” They know they belong to something bigger than themselves, an ongoing life story that speaks to positive moments and overcoming difficult ones.
Dr. Duke recommends that parents pursue similar activities with their children. Any number of occasions work to convey this sense of history: holidays, vacations, big family get-togethers, even a ride to the mall. The hokier the family’s tradition, he said, the more likely it is to be passed down. He mentioned his family’s custom of hiding frozen turkeys and canned pumpkin in the bushes during Thanksgiving so grandchildren would have to “hunt for their supper,” like the Pilgrims. The traditions then become part of your family.
The bottom line: if you want a happier family, create, refine and retell your family’s story. At the very least, it’s a fresh alternative to the “how was your day” dinner kick-off.
(found via pinterest)