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November 09, 2010

7 Secrets of Low Stress Families

I am spending a lot of time in the Dr.'s office these days.  Par for the course when you're having a baby.  Recently, I came across a very interesting article from Redbook magazine about low stress families.

I think we all want to be a low stress family and I also think everyone thinks they are a high stress family.  We all live busy lives.  We all encounter difficult situations, that's just a part of living.  We all have stress.  The key is to learning how to downplay the stress and create joy and togetherness in your household.  I thought this article offered some really great advice for keeping your family focused on truly being together.

You may or may not agree with all 7 secrets.  I'm not going to comment on any of them, I am just going to give you the facts, straight from the article and let you draw your own conclusions...

The research was based on 32 California based families who opened up their lives to a 3-person crew for 4 days.  In every family, both parents worked outside the home and had two or more children.  So here are the similarities they found.

  1. Low-stress couples don't divvy up the chores.  They don't keep score.  "There was more of a 'we-ness', the attitude was more we do this for our family, not I do this for you."
  2. Low-stress families find moments of togetherness.  They understand that moments of togetherness do not necessarily happen on vacation, they happen during special moments like braiding their daughter's hair or cheering together at their son's t-ball game.
  3. Low-stress parents are role models, not pals.  "There was still affection and humor in homes where the parents the were bosses, there was never a question of who was in charge.
  4. Low-stress moms make dinner from scratch.  The average woman spent about an hour preparing dinner.  Also, children who were involved in the food preparation always ate what they were served. (I am simply relaying the information here.)
  5. Low-stress moms take five minutes of me time.  The secret to being fully present and enjoying family life is taking 5-10 minutes to yourself.  This is a healthy act, not a selfish one.
  6. Low-stress families watch TV together.  "Bonding can be sharing snacks, high-fiving when a basketball team scores, or guessing trivia questions together."  When families laugh together, it creates a shared memory.
  7. Low-stress families embrace daily rituals.  Routine and continuity (not spontaneity and excitement) set the foundation for making family relationships thrive.  

I will say that the one that shocked me the most is the one about TV.  There is a lot of controversy about TV.  TV can cause a lot of damage to a family.  TVs in every room can cause separation.  But as I read this, I vividly remembered sitting as a family watching America's Funniest Home Videos and laughing together.  It is a small but great memory.

I would love to hear some of your ideas (or memories) that reinforce some of these secrets!

If you would like to read the full article, you can click here.


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This is a good list. I would think that #4 needs clarification as far as the level of "from scratch" we are talking about. Also, my wife does not enjoy cooking, therefore, cooking stresses her out tremendously.

As a former teacher and coach, #3 is one that is not seen often once the children get to Jr.High. But keeping a "friendly" relationship without actually becoming "friends" is vital, at least through High School. IMO

What a great article - I love the one about parents being the role models not the pals. One thing that I would add to the list, is Eat Dinner Together (or at least one meal a day). We pretty much eat at 6pm everyday. Sometimes games and practices get in the way, but we sit down to eat 4-5 a week as a foursome. Lots of great discussion happens around our table, from school and sermons, to decisions and situations, you name it. I think it is one of the best things our family does. It's our way to connect, de-stress and come together as a team.

an hour preparing dinner? That makes me want to cry.

The TV thing was an eye popper for me, too, but our family's best laughs come from an hour of AFV! But, my favorite quote from this post? "Routine and continuity (not spontaneity and excitement) set the foundation for making family relationships thrive." Now, that's TRUTH!

Interesting tidbits to chew on. I know for me personally that when God taught me how to not be bitter about the housework (how ridiculous, when I am a stay at home mom?!?!) our family life got a lot more fun, at least from my perspective.

Another thought...we focus on teamwork in our family. Believe it or not, we got that from the cartoon, The Wonder Pets. It really works!

My PH and I watch AFV with our 3 kids ( age 5 and under) weekly. We sit down together on Sunday evening with a huge bowl of popcorn and dim the lights. The kids laugh hysterically and we all have a great time. It's something we all look forward to. We also like to watch Biggest Loser together. We find that it instills healthy eating and exercise habits plus it's teaching our kindergarteners (we have twins) their numbers. We pause it when they are weighing in and the kids figure out what the numbers are. So much fun!

We love to sit down and watch AFV with our kids. Back during the summer we would watch Wipeout together.
I love the first one about not keeping score when it comes to chores. If your ministry family is like mine, you just do it when you can or whoever is able to at the time it needs it.

I am away at college as well as my older brother so we are not home often. I also have a younger brother in high school. When we are all home at the same time we have a favorite tv show "That 70s Show" and we always sit down and watch it together. We have inside jokes from it. We have texting and FB quote wars with each other throughout the year. It's something we all enjoy and brings us together.

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