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The Secrets of Happy Families: Eight Keys to Building a Lifetime of Connection and Contentment Paperback – June 15, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Jossey-Bass; 1 edition (June 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118743733
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118743737
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Living in a happy family is good for your health, longevity, productivity, and success. Written by best-selling author Dr. Scott Haltzman, The Secrets of Happy Families is filled with smart, wise, and often humorous tips for families who want a healthy and harmonious home life in good times and tough times.

The Secrets of Happy Families is based on the groundbreaking results of a survey of 1,266 men and women who reveal their family secrets on topics from sex to childcare. Dr. Haltzman interweaves cutting-edge research and examples from his own clinical practice to arrive at easy-to-apply strategies that can boost the happiness in any family:

Stick Together—Know your core values and work together to set a course for happiness that includes everyone in the home.

Commit and Communicate—Children feel more secure when they know that parents are committed to stay together. Using good communication seals the deal!

Lean—You don't have to do it all on your own. Reaching out to others makes you and your family sturdier and steadier.

Teach to and Learn from Children—Parenting takes patience, but while you're teaching your children, they're teaching you!

Blend—Grouping and regrouping with step-, adopted, and foster families isn't always smooth, but the process can enrich everyone involved.

Handle Conflict—Knowing how to master conflict can lead to a more cohesive family.

Bounce—Healthy families know how to rebound from adversity and grow stronger in the process.

Breathe—Making time for fun, adventure, and rituals sets the stage for a loving family over a lifetime.

The Secrets of Happy Families will be the book your family turns to again and again for raising healthy children, solving everyday crises, creating a stable loving home, and building positive memories. --This text refers to the Unknown Binding edition.

From the Back Cover

"This is a wonderful book. I recommend it to all families asrequired reading."
Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. author, Getting the LoveYou Want and Giving the Love That Heals: A Guide for Parents

"This is a beautiful book—timely, passionate, andpowerful. It is also so well written, it's a page-turner and you'llfind wealth of insight on every page. If you have specificquestions about how to make family love last, this book haspractical answers."
Michael Gurian, author, The Minds of Boys and TheWonder of Girls

"Scott Haltzman's writing is so engaging, it's the kind of bookyou pick up in a bookstore and find yourself still reading a halfhour later. Inspiring and enlightening, it is filled withfascinating facts, educational anecdotes, and wise advice that youwill remember, use, and repeat to others, even years from now.Don't miss this outpouring of love from a seasoned writer andpsychiatrist."
Susan Page, author, Why Talking Is Not Enough andIf I'm So Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single?

"Few well-written and easily read books treat us to solidresearch, a wide range of thoughtful quotes, and the author'sreal-life experience on perhaps life's most important subject:creating a happy family. This book does it all!"
Warren Farrell, Ph.D. author, Women Can't HearWhat Men Don't Say and Why Men Are the Way They Are

"Haltzman's latest entry into the 'advice to families' genre isa gem. Grounded in solid family research and his own survey offamilies, Haltzman offers sound, practical, and compassionateadvice for families. His recognition of the diversity ofcontemporary families is one of the great strengths of this book.The accessible style is sure to please a wide range of readers fromparents to family professionals."
Ross D. Parke, Ph.D. Distinguished Professor ofPsychology, Emeritus, University of California, Riverside; and pastpresident, Society for Research in Child Development

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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It is very readable and makes the points clearly and understandably.
Elin Schoen Brockman
In chapter 2 Dr. Haltzman defines happiness and identifies a number of circumstances and behaviors that can impact the happiness of families.
Kevin A. Decker
Since babies don't come with instruction manuals, I suggest all new parents get this book as a parenting guide.
T. Love

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Lynette R. Fleming on September 16, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Remember the scene in Robin William's movie, "The Birdcage," during which the right-wing parents of the fiancé of Armand's son are faced with his two mothers ... one biological (a female) and the other the drag-queen companion of his father? "Which one is your mother?" they ask. When many of us think of families, we think of the traditional "Leave it to Beaver" family ... father, mother, and children. But today there are so many other kinds of families ... grandparents raising grandchildren, foster families, adoptive families, same-sex couples, and so on. The great thing about this book is that the advice in it applies to any family, defined by Dr. Haltzman as "two or more people committed to sharing their life together who are related by blood, adoption, marriage or cohabitation, legal decree, or personal devotion."

After defining "family", Dr. Haltzman goes on to define happiness and gives us his eight secrets to the enduring happy family. Secret one, Stick Together, which isn't just about divorce but also includes how to set your family values and creating a family document ... The Family Mission Statement. We have one at work ... why not have one at home? Once you have established your family values, you'll move on to communication, teaching and learning from children, blending, handling conflict, bouncing back, breathing, and evolving.

Happy families don't just happen because two people fall in love and procreate. To continue our happiness, we must establish our values and become adept at nurturing our relationships. Know someone who can't stand their mother, father, or kids? It happens all the time. This book will teach you how to stop those conflicts in their tracks and put your family life on the right track to continuing happiness.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kevin A. Decker on February 26, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As an Author, Coach, and Motivational Speaker I read a lot of books about people, their motivations, and their relationships. "The Secrets of Happy Families" by Dr. Scott Haltzman and Teresa Foy DiGeronimo gets an A+ for writing with clarity and humor, an A for stories that engage the reader, and an A+ for the valuable lessons provided.

Dr. Haltzman begins by setting expectations about what a family is, going way beyond the traditional nuclear family of 2 parents and 2.5 children to include the single parent family, extended family, blended family, adopted family, foster family, etc. Coming from a blended family with a father married 6 times impacting 21 children and having a more traditional family with 2 parents and 2 children I was interested to see what secrets he could share to make my family a happy family.

In chapter 2 Dr. Haltzman defines happiness and identifies a number of circumstances and behaviors that can impact the happiness of families. He ends the chapter with this line "by proactively shaping the family life you desire, that life can be yours. Read on."

Secret #1: Happy Families Stick Together. Dr. Haltzman creates context with a values matrix to help you identify a shared understanding of what's important to your family, and each of the people in your family. He then helps you create a family mission statement as a powerful bond that helps the family stick together.

Secret #2: Happy Families Commit and Communicate. Dr. Haltzman identifies what "committed" means. He identifies 3 stages in a relationship and what it takes to stay committed in each stage. Communication through words and action is the top-secret of happy families. Gender differences can create conflict or you can embrace the differences.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jodi E. Deangelis on August 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The Secrets of Happy Families is all that it is advertised to be! Dr. Haltzman begins the book by exploring the definition of family, and has an inspiring and educational chapter about happiness (did you know that people that win the lottery don't end up being any happier in life and people who become paralyzed?).

I found Haltzman's division of family happiness into eight "keys" extremely helpful. For instance, on his chapter called "commit and communicate" he talks about the importance of maintaining a stable family for the growth of the child. This seems like common sense, but the fact is that it is politically incorrect to say that people should marry because it's better for children. Other chapters talk about dealing with conflict, step families, values, and resiliency.

What was most impressive about this was Dr. Haltzman's use of humor. He seems to be saying that we should take a families seriously, but not so seriously that we are not able to enjoy all of the highs and lows that are part of being a family. The book gave me good ideas about how to enjoy fun and meaningful activities when I get together with my family. And how to argue less.

I am eager to read Dr. Haltzman's other books because he seems to be a voice of reason and humor when other authors are either sanctimonious, boring, or banal.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Matthew Aron on December 9, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I'm a big Haltzman fan, after his "Happily Married Men" book The Secrets of Happily Married Men: Eight Ways to Win Your Wife's Heart Forever. I didn't know whether there would be an overlap between this book and the men's book, but they complimented each other, and didn't overlap at all.

It's hard to believe a psychiatirst could be so straightforward and funny, and also humanistic and kind. There are important aspects to this book. One, it's straightforward (although a tad too theoretical for my tastes in the beginning). Two, it's practical. Three, it covers a very broad range of topics on families (conflict, communication, child rearing, and things like holidays and traditions). Four, it's really easy reading, more like a novel than like a "how to" book.
The real-life stories helped illustrate his points.

I'd recommend to people who are dealing with some sort of family crisis, whowant to improve family communication, or for step-families.
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More About the Author

Scott Haltzman, M.D., is board certified in Psychiatry and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He is a graduate of Brown University class of 1982, and received his medical degree from the Brown Medical School in 1985. He completed his psychiatric training and chief residency at Yale University, and then moved back to Rhode Island with his wife and children. He served as a Clinical Assistant Professor at Brown University for twenty years, before moving to Naples, Florida, where he is currently practicing psychiatry at the David Lawrence Center.

Dr. Haltzman has gained international recognition for his work in support of marriage and committed relationships. He has appeared on the Today Show, 20/20, Good Morning America, and in TIME Magazine, Glamour, Redbook, Parent's Magazine, Cosmopolitan, Men's Health, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune and local and national radio, TV and print.

Scott Haltzman, M.D., is the founder and editor of and and author of "The Secrets of Surviving Infidelity," "The Secrets of Happily Married Men," "The Secrets of Happily Married Women" and "The Secrets of Happy Families." He co-authored the chapter, "Men, Marriage and Divorce" in the American Psychiatric Press book: "Men and Mental Health." He is an internationally recognized speaker, presenting at the Annual Marriage Education conferences and at the annual meeting of the American Psychiatric Association.