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Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Book Review: The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy Families

The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy Families: What Scientists Have Learned and How You Can Use it by David Niven, Ph.D. takes research findings and breaks them down into helpful tips for the average family. Each secret is accompanied by a short story about a different family or individual, some famous, some average and a related research finding. Some of the secrets seemed profound and others seemed more obvious, but it depends on you, your family and your experience. I really enjoyed this book. I think it has a little something for everyone and it's a quick read. Here were some of my favourite secrets:
  1. Forgiveness Depends on More than An Apology. Recieving forgiveness from your family has more to do with how you treat them before the offence than how you try to make it up to them.
  2. Fatigue is a Family Enemy. Make sure you leave some energy for you family.
  3. Encourage Persistence Not Desperation. Valuing efforts and not results gives reason to continue.
  4. Family Life Teaches Us About Relationships. The example we give our children in how we treat others is one that they will remember throughout their lives.
  5. Show Up on Time. Being punctual sends a message that you do what you say you will.
  6. Cherish Traditions. Traditions help children learn who they are and how they are connected with each other.
  7. Encourage, but Don't Require, Activities.  Activities encourage development, but if it's something they're not interested in it becomes a job.
  8. What You Send Out Comes Back to You. To feel more support you need to give it.
  9. Illness Can Have Multiple Victims. When one member of the family is sick, it effects everyone.
  10. Self-Doubt Magnifies Family Problems. Seeing the good in yourself will help you to see the good in your family.
  11. Low Expectations Are Not A Family Solution. Lowering your standards is not going to make you happier.
  12. Emotions Last Longer Than Events. Your kids will remember being upset long after they've forgotten what caused it. Isn't this true of many adults too?
  13. Distress Is Contagious. When you are upset or angry it makes your family feel vulnerable and afraid, even if the problem has nothing to do with them.
  14. Family Affects All Aspects of Our Lives. Children who come from families where their needs are met are more likely to be healthy, satisfied with life, feel good about themselves and have confidence in their abilities.
  15. Can You Do It? Ask Yourself. You can do what you think you can do.


  1. Thanks for sharing these! Definitely some great points. Sounds like a good book.

  2. I whole-heartedly agree with #14! Family does affect EVERY. SINGLE. ASPECT. of our lives.

  3. this sounds like a fantastic book! thanks for the review of it!