Maryann Bucknum Brinley

167 Cooper Avenue
Upper Montclair, NJ 07043-1810

973-202-5909 (cell)

The Secrets of Happy Parenting

More than 16 years ago, I wrote a book about the secrets of happy parenting. My children, Zach and Maggie, were still children then but the world was just as complicated for parents trying to be happy. In fact, I have researched and written a lot about pregnancy and parenting issues – once from the perch of the director of the Infants and Children’s Laboratory at the Good Housekeeping Institute. Zach is a father of two now. His son, Finn, is 2 ½ and my granddaughter Charlotte just turned 1. Now, Maggie is pregnant with her first, a daughter who will be born sometime around Dec. 4. I am deeply in love with this role of grandmother. So as I look back at parenting and my daughter Maggie looks forward, I have decided to launch a blog, retooling some of those secrets I shared way back when and, at times, examining parenting from two different generational points. Maggie, a wonderful writer as you will discover, is a nurse at New York University’s Langone Hospital.

Happy Parents...Make Happy Memories

Maryann Bucknum Brinley - Monday, December 02, 2013

“Joy is not in things, it is in us.” – Benjamin Franklin

What comes to mind when you recall your happiest childhood memory? 

Without a doubt, the memories you are hanging on to are not the fancy gift-wrapped boxes or elaborately planned experiences. In fact, the memories we all treasure are the sincere, yet special, gifts of care, love, attention and time.

When I consider all the energy and money we parents and grandparents spend on “wow” presents, “quality” occasions, or pre-programmed activities (especially at this holiday time of year!) trying to create one-of-a-kind moments for kids, I never cease to be amazed by how insignificant these financial sacrifices become in our memory banks. Those holidays spent with family aren’t memorable because of the toy you got or the pile of presents, they remain special forever because of the happy atmosphere.

(Charlotte found the perfect little Christmas tree for herself this past weekend!)

You have the ability to create the happy memories your children will draw on forever. This is critical. To have happy memories from childhood is to have an emotional bank account filled with joy and strength.

Gifts? Presents? Please don't stress about them. You don’t need to give your children everything. You simply need to include them.

I picked up this wonderful quote from one of my favorite websites, “Who we are, if not measured by our impact on others? That’s who we are. We’re not who we say we are, we’re not who we want to be – we are the sum of the influence and impact that we have in our lives, on others” – especially when those others are our children.

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