Where the world comes to study the Bible

11. Book Review -- How to Be a Happy, Healthy Family

Book Title: How to be a Happy, Healthy Family

AuthorJim Burns, PH.D.

Year of Publication2001

PublisherWord Publishing


Author’s Web-site

Full Book Available in: English

You should read this book if you…

Want to raise your children to be more secure and have a lasting legacy of love and health passed on to the next generation. This book will encourage you that there is no “perfect” method for parenting and most parents are doing a very adequate job of parenting and just don’t know it.

“In a nut shell”…

There are 10 principles of families that succeed. 1. Being there for your family, 2. Express affection, warmth and encouragement, 3. Build health morals and values, 4. Discipline with consistency, 5. Ruthlessly eliminate stress, 6. Communicate is the key, 7. Play is necessary for close-knit family, 8. Love your spouse, 9. The best things in life are not things, 10. Energize your family’s spiritual growth.

Key Ideas…

Parent with Affirmation, warmth and encouragement = A.W.E.  We still discipline our children, but we remove shaming our children into making the right decisions.  Communication is Key – It is more about the interaction than the outcome, which comes from a good relationship not the content of what is said. Parents must always have honesty and integrity when they communicate with their kids.

Play, humor and fun are essential to happy healthy families. When we play together it gives us a deeper since of belonging and community. Parents must proactively work to make this a key goal for the family.

Loving your spouse and putting them before your children is the optimum factor for rearing secure children. Your greatest family investment may be your marriage.

Finances can consume a family, so you have to be careful and not make money your goal for success in life. You have to learn to spend less than you make, live within a budget, stay out of debt and delay gratification for wants.  We have to be faithful stewards of our resources and realize that God owns everything and he just lends us stuff to enjoy.

The best way to discipline is with consistency. The goal with discipline is to teach your children to be responsible not just obey.  We don’t want to control our children. We want to influence them with our own behavior.

We have to ruthlessly eliminate stress in our families to have a happy and healthy family.  We all need to regain some margin space in our schedules to give us some breathing room, so we don’t become over committed and live a crisis-mode life.  Crisis mode living that comes from too many activities is very dangerous and it paralyzes families.  Your relationships will suffer from this type of living and everyone will become relationship starved.

Spending time with God is a key to being a good parent and living a lasting legacy. Pray with your spouse for your family and it will help you see the real priorities in your life and the things that are most important. Focus on your family’s spiritual life by having devotional times together, praying together and making a family constitution. A family constitution is a written list of your family’s desires, values and what your family stands for.

Action Steps…

Every six months, parents should plan a day away from your normal schedule and take an extended time to focus on each of your children. You need to examine the areas of your children’s lives where you need to be present. Be aware of cultural influences and make an agenda for the next 6 months for developing your child’s moral, relationship/friendship, health and spiritual growth.

Keep communications lines open by taking the time to talk and the time to listen on a daily basis.

Ruthlessly cut back on your family’s activities to make life more manageable and make more time for relationships instead of busyness.

Be consistent in your discipline and don’t be hard on yourself when you mess up.


“Many times parents look for the latest fad to become a close-knit family. Yet the answer is simple and right in front of them. It’s investing our time and energy and commitment to be there for our children. The result is hope and security for all.” Pg 12

“As most experts on the family will say, a family that prays together stays together. But I would add that a family who consciously plays together will also be much more happy and healthy.” Pg 122

Statistics and Interesting Facts…

“If you let children start dating at the age of 12 they will have a 91% chance of having sex before graduation (age 18). If you wait until the age of 16 to let them start dating the percent goes down to only 20%.” Pg 39


The author, Jim Burns is a Christian Psychologist who has worked with many families who are in crisis. The media tends to focus on all the negatives when it comes to families and children, but there are thousands upon thousands of families around the world that are thriving and working positively through their issues.

How this has changed my parenting…

This book has really helped me to simplify our family’s life. I always desired a simpler, less chaotic life, but felt like we had to do everything everyone else was doing. This book gave me permission to stop and do what’s best for my family and not try to do everything. We are all so much more peaceful and happy with less activity and more down time to enjoy each other business. Relationships are more important than what you are doing at given moment.

© 2011 The Family Project

Related Topics: Book Review, Children, Parent Resources, Christian Home, Fathers, Men's Articles, Mothers, Parenting, Women's Articles

Report Inappropriate Ad