Secrets to a happy family
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Feiler turned to hundreds of examples of non-parenting wisdom from a variety of sources – from bankers to Green Berets – for his new book, "The Secrets of Happy Families," to bring families closer together, according to ABC News.
Some advice was quite surprising: try moving the furniture, ditch date night and let the kids pick their own punishments.
For advice on allowances, Feiler spoke with Warren Buffett's banker, who said not to tie allowances to chores. For games, he went to the folks at the online gaming giant Zynga, the makers of Farmville and other similar spinoffs, who told him that failure can be motivation to do better.
For conflict resolution, he went to the Harvard Negotiation Project and the set of ABC's TV series "Modern Family."
"All families have conflict. It's the families that cope with the conflict best that are the best able to function successfully. Laughter, silliness, games can be a great antidote to the conflict," Feiler said.
One can also take examples from Kyle Richards, the star of "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills," a show that thrives on screaming matches and backstabbing. She is the head of a tranquil family and she said her family life is "very real."
Raising daughters Farrah, Alexia, Sophia and Portia with her husband, Mauricio Umansky is her first priority and she takes the job seriously.
"Having four kids is not – especially as they get older – is not easy to get them, all four, at the same time to sit down to dinner. We have to fight for that all the time, but it's worth it," Richards said.
But those hard-fought moments create memories – a stitch in the tapestry of the larger family history, which is something Feiler also talks about in his book: The more your kids know about their family's legacy, the more resilient they are because it gives them a sense of pride in who they are and where they come from.
Feiler also said that successful institutions have mission statements and wacky family traditions can also breed happiness.
And to maximize team spirit among family members, Feiler said the Green Berets believe in pushing everyone's physical limits in pursuit of a common goal.