Happy families? Really?

Who was it who said that happy families are all alike?  It's the unhappy ones that are interesting. Well, if Tolstoy were alive, he might recommend a new book that purportedly can help you have the first kind.  That is, if you're a certain stereotype.

I had the TV on yesterday afternoon  and Katie Couric was interviewing some guy who said what matters most when disciplining your kids is where you sit.  What?  Apparently, if you sit on a rigid surface, you'll be rigid in your treatment of your kids.  If you sit on something cushioned, you will be more flexible and inherently, supposedly, better able to get through to your kids.

Works for marriage, too, the writer, Bruce Feiler proclaimed, adding that he and his wife solve their arguments better if they sit side by side on a bench than if he's at his computer and she's sitting at a lower level on the couch.

I don't know about that.  Seems my husband and I have a hard time of it no matter whether we're side by side in the car or on the living room couch or, in the past, in a counseling session!

That seems to be the advice from the new book, "The Secret to Happy Families," which obviously contains more than that, but Washington Post columnist Yvonne Zipp claims that it's too fairy-taleish to be of much use to most of us.  She writes that it focuses single-mindedly on families like the Cleavers.  Nowhere does it talk about the special challenges facing single moms, or dads, or gay parents, or  parents of children with severe developmental or emotional disturbances. 

Still, I suppose it's nice to think there might be more than one happy family out there.  You can't always include mine, but I think I'll keep it.   It's much more interesting that way.




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