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The key to family harmony

Tiernan McKay is a freelance writer based in Denver, Colorado. Her writing has appeared in magazines such as Alive!, Occupational Health and Safety, Restaurants and Institutions, Tampa Bay and Arizona Woman. Right now, she is either ridi...

Can't we all just get along?

Sometimes a harmonious family seems like a fictitious concept, but you can take steps towards a peaceful home life. Tap into the wisdom of a parenting expert who believes that a "no complaining" policy is the key to family harmony.

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During her 25 years of experience as a counselor and personal coach, Amanda Owen, author of the bestselling book The Power of Receiving: A Revolutionary Approach to Giving Yourself the Life You Want and Deserve, has seen many families flourish when complaining is eliminated. Sound impossible? It may be easier than you think.

A realistic approach

Before you begin your quest for family harmony, it's best to establish realistic goals and a game plan. "Many people want more family harmony but do not take the time to create rules that lead to it," says Owen. One of the most effective rules to apply is no complaining. It's just not possible to experience family harmony 100 percent of the time, but making an effort to substantially reduce complaining in the home will create a positive atmosphere in which harmony can thrive.

A toxic habit

Complaining may seem like a productive activity, especially if you're the one whining. But the truth is that "complaints serve as a discharge mechanism that keeps the conditions that one is complaining about exactly the same," according to Owen. "Detailing slights, unfair situations and unhappiness has a particularly negative creates a toxic environment." Perhaps the biggest hindrance to household harmony is that complaining makes it almost impossible to focus on positive dynamics of a family.

Set an example

If you're tired of hearing your kids complain, the first thing you need to do is examine your own habits. Chances are, you'll catch yourself doing some whining of your own. "I suggest to parents that they institute a family complaint fast," says Owen. "Ask family members to join in and start with a commitment to not complain for one day. I created a motto as a fun way to help them: no suffering allowed! No suffering aloud!" Allow a day to turn into a week, a week into a month. Before you know it, what was once the norm (excessive complaining) will become uncomfortable. So, what can you do? Owen provides the following tips to create family harmony, relationship harmony and internal harmony:

Practical tips

  • Express feelings without telling a victim-story
  • Institute a complaint fast
  • Give as much as you receive
  • Receive as much as you give
  • Count your blessings

By eliminating complaining in your house, you'll be able to take the time to reflect on the positive aspects of life and truly enjoy a significant measure of family harmony.

Read more about complaining

5 Benefits of positive thinking
7 Essential secrets to stopping bad attitudes

Five ways to cultivate an attitude of gratitude


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