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Bruce Feiler on The Secrets of Happy Families

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Bestselling author and New York Times family columnist Bruce Feiler discusses being squeezed between caring for aging parents and raising children. He set out on a three-year journey to find the smartest solutions and the most cutting-edge research about families and then Feiler tested these ideas with his wife and kids. The result is The Secrets of Happy Families, a look at how families can draw closer together, and answer the questions: How do we manage the chaos of our lives? How do we teach our kids values? How do we make our family happier?

Guests:

Bruce Feiler

Comments [19]

Is There A Secret To Having Happy Family Meals? I think we should set our sights higher than once a week. http://t.co/JUliIuUKVN

Feb. 22 2013 02:27 PM
Noach from Brooklyn

@ Ashley:

Try it again now.

I have just /downloaded/ the mp3 file again and it is now the right segment (Feiler)-- obviously corrected since yesterday, when it was actually a duplicate of the Ben Goldacre segment on pharma.

It's not practical for me to try the "Listen Now" (streaming) but I would suspect that it got corrected as well, so give it a try. If not, I suggest you use the contact page to alert the appropriate Dept.:
http://www.wnyc.org/contact/

Feb. 21 2013 07:43 PM
Ashley

You have the wrong audio "listen now" link connected to this story. It is playing a different segment, not Bruce Feiler on The Secrets of Happy Families.

Feb. 20 2013 04:26 PM
Noach (Independent, anti-Corporate Traditionalist) from Brooklyn

Addendum: I forgot to mention that Internet filters, "parental controls" and the like are largely a joke. Easily circumventable by almost anyone. Anyone who thinks they can rely on them is fooling themselves.

Feb. 20 2013 02:05 PM
Janie from Mamaroneck

I love some of the things that Feiler is talking about. Us trained Child Developmental people (prents, teachers, students of child development) know all this (Sarah Lwrence, Dewey, Progressive Education, etc) about the children. It's NOT the kids that are the problem (hmmm)IT"S THE PARENTS. Dummy.
All of his work is about training the parents to be really great parents. Translate: teachers, CEOs, CFOs, etc. We have no manual and that's the rub.

Feb. 20 2013 01:56 PM
Noach (Independent, anti-Corporate Traditionalist) from Brooklyn

I apologize in case the topic of my previous post was addressed before I made it.

I had intended to make my post before the segment began but got delayed.

Feb. 20 2013 01:48 PM
Amy from Manhattan

"We" can be good if it really means "we." Too often it really means "I" & assumes the other people want/do/have the same thing or idea the speaker does.

Feb. 20 2013 01:44 PM
chris from CA

Another person who has the universal knowledge on how to raise children? really? Children don't come with a manual that's a fact but come on....

Feb. 20 2013 01:43 PM
amy

I'm sorry, but you can't raise kids and make a life based on studies/research. What happened to just common sense for parents?

Feb. 20 2013 01:43 PM
Noach (Independent, anti-Corporate Traditionalist) from Brooklyn

What about the scourge of ubiquitous Internet pornography that today's youth are assaulted with?

How does Mr. Feiler deal with this?

Today's pre-teens have incredibly easy access to all manner of content that makes Playboy-- what was for kids of a bygone era a prized, coveted, taboo that was an achievement to acquire-- look _wholesome_ by comparison.

The degradation of women (and, in the case of gay porn, men as well) is shockingly overt, base and prevalent even in what is considered well-within the mainstream of porn today.

There is no form of perversion or depravity that is not glorified and fetishized.

Can there be any doubt of the direct connection between exposure to such smut and each of the following:
- unhealthy attitudes toward sexuality and women
- a general increase in promiscuity that has been reported some time now among youth of increasingly younger ages
- an alarming increase in the incidence of practices such as fellatio and anal penetration among said youth

In addition to the serious health risks posed by such acts, they are instinctively repugnant, demeaning and even traumatic to nearly all females.*

And yet, outside of certain Feminists and the "religious right", we don't hear much condemnation of this cultural cancer of pornography, do we?

*And, more than a few males as well, at least when it comes to being on the receiving end. But this gets into a whole topic unto itself. The writings of Bill Weintraub, a dissident gay activist, are highly relevant and recommended. The essay at the following URL, a comprehensive expose` of the medical, psychological and cultural realities of anal penetration, and a critique of its centrality in contemporary gay culture, may be a good place to start:
http://heroichomosex.org/crw/frot/not.html
WARNING: contains a great deal of highly explicit and crude text as well as images. Those wishing to avoid the pictures may wish to disable graphics in their browser before visiting the site.

Feb. 20 2013 01:43 PM
Amy Gurowitz from Montclair

My husband and I do use a number of tactics that Bruce mentioned and our daughter is already showing the results. Her perspective has often "schooled" us in our efforts to parent her. Not to say that we aren't at times flailing to figure it out- and making mistakes- but our transparency and honesty has helped her to recognize that we are all life learners- and many times learning on the fly. Looking forward to adding to our approach with Bruce's book! (Hmmm. That might make a nice WNYC thank you gift!) And thank you Leonard for yet another terrific show.

Feb. 20 2013 01:42 PM
Evan V from Queens

I really like what he is talking about. I try to remember the most important thing in any relationship is "The Relationship"

Feb. 20 2013 01:41 PM
michele from Westchester

What is this guest's training, on what expertise does he base his research? I can't find anything online except for his journalist and book authorship history. It's a bit disconcerting to hear people calling and emailing for his "advice" if in fact his only credentials are that he's researched the topic.

Feb. 20 2013 01:36 PM
William

Sorry, poorly written the first time, please replace :

Great stuff. I question the cause/effect relationship of the family narrative. Isn't it just that families who have overcome hardship have that to be proud of, so they will speak of it? Meanwhile, folks like me who were born into a family where, sure, we've had success, but we've still been plagued with alcoholism. I think the adults in our family were a bit less apt to speak of our successes as a whole, as most of them were still dealing with decades-old problems. Perhaps the lesson is to try to tell a family narrative which emphasizes the successes?

Feb. 20 2013 01:33 PM
William

Great stuff. I question the cause/effect relationship of the family narrative. Isn't it just that families who have overcome hardship have that to be proud of, so they will speak of it. Meanwhile, folks like me who was born into a family where, sure, we've had success, but we've still been plagued with alcoholism. I think the adults in our family were a bit less apt to speak of our successes as a whole as most of them were still dealing with decades-old problems. Perhaps the lesson is to try to tell a family narrative which emphasizes the successes even?

Feb. 20 2013 01:27 PM
tom from NYC

Q - ok, understand there are extremes here but what's better? dad, who wants to see kids but has work to do, coming home late, unstressed? or dad leaving work undone racing home to be with wife and kids for crazy dinner hour?

Feb. 20 2013 01:26 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

What the guests are not saying is that the parents need to cooperate -- to be on the same page, to present a unified front to the kids and NOT undermine each other.

Maybe the fact that they plan all this together is the REAL underlying cause of success, as opposed to any particular strategies.

Feb. 20 2013 01:21 PM
lucy from manhattan

What do you do when the one who needs the discipline is your 38 year old co parent?

Feb. 20 2013 01:19 PM
Truth & Beauty from Brooklyn

One of the secrets of raising a happy family is reading Dr. Seuss. :-)

Feb. 20 2013 01:10 PM

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