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KJ Dell'Antonia

Author. Parent. Getting it done—most of the time.

How to be a Happier Parent:
Raising a Family, Having a Life, and Loving (Almost) Every Minute

An encouraging guide to helping parents find more happiness in their day-to-day family life, from the former lead editor of the New York Times Motherlode blog.

In all the writing and reporting KJ Dell'Antonia has done on families over the years, one topic keeps coming up again and again: parents crave a greater sense of happiness in their daily lives. In this optimistic, solution-packed book, KJ asks: How can we change our family life so that it is full of the joy we'd always hoped for? Drawing from the latest research and interviews with families, KJ discovers that it's possible to do more by doing less, and make our family life a refuge and pleasure, rather than another stress point in a hectic day. She focuses on nine common problem spots that cause parents the most grief, explores why they are hard, and offers small, doable, sometimes surprising steps you can take to make them better. Whether it's getting everyone out the door on time in the morning or making sure chores and homework get done without another battle, How to Be a Happier Parent shows that having a family isn't just about raising great kids and churning them out at destination: success. It's about experiencing joy--real joy, the kind you look back on, look forward to, and live for--along the way.

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Praise for How to Be A Happier Parent

"In How to Be a Happier Parent: Raising a Family, Having a Life, and Loving (Almost) Every Minute” [KJ] shares her knowledge in a breezy style and bite-size format that’s easy to read between toddler meltdowns.”

~ The Los Angeles Times

"KJ Dell'Antonia has been at the center of the conversation about modern parenting for over a decade. During that time, she's become an astute, experienced, sympathetic, and knowledgeable companion and provocateur. Also, a great writer. All of those qualities are on display here. HOW TO BE A HAPPIER PARENT is sure to help many harried moms and dads find more joy in the everyday chaos of their lives."

~ Bruce Feiler, New York Times bestselling author of THE SECRETS OF HAPPY FAMILIES

"When it comes to parenting, KJ knows the research and the reality. We can be happier parents—if, that is, we understand what gets in our way and what we can change. With real advice and fascinating science, this book helps you be the parent you want to be.”

~ Charles Duhigg, author of bestsellers The Power of Habit and Smarter Faster Better

“Raising children makes us happier—except when family life drives us crazy. Parenting expert KJ Dell’Antonia draws on the latest research to find ways to make life happier with her family of four children. She’s candid (and often hilarious) about her own struggles, and her wise, practical advice for tackling common pain points such as chores, homework, sibling squabbles, devices, and discipline rings true, because she’s tried it all herself.”

~ Gretchen Rubin, New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness Project and Happier at Home

“How to Be a Happier Parent is a revelation, an entire book intended to support, rather than undermine, parents who wish to lead with love and trust that everything else will follow. KJ Dell’Antonia cuts through the B.S. that makes so many parents unhappy: the oughts, shoulds, and competitive one-upsmanship that has nothing to do with being a good parent or raising healthy, sane, loving kids. I am so grateful for her straight talk, sincerity, and willingness to share her own mistakes. KJ Dell’Antonia is my favorite parenting writer because she always offers a big-picture perspective on parenting, a view that never fails to help me step back, forgive myself and my children, and take solace in what I’d known all along: that when we take a breath, close our mouths, and let our kids discover their own resourcefulness, we all win. How to Be a Happier Parent isn’t another anxiety- and guilt-inducing parenting book. It’s the exact opposite: a book meant to reassure us that we already have everything we need to raise happy, healthy, perfectly imperfect children.”

~ Jessica Lahey, New York Times best-selling author of The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Let Go So Their Children Can Learn to Succeed

“With refreshing frankness, treasured writer KJ Dell-Antonia admits that parenting takes a toll. Then, with full transparency, she shares her efforts to achieve a happier home life and a happier self. The result is an ideal blend of humble confessions, blunt reckonings, and relatable humor, offered with zero judgment and plenty of empathy. As this wise expert comes to feel like a close friend, we trust that we, too, can be far happier than we’d realized.”

~ Julie Lythcott-Haims, New York Times best-selling author of How to Raise an Adult

“It is impossible to read KJs book and not find yourself breathing deeply. It's like a meditation session and she's the calming voice, equal parts wisdom and honesty and hope. Instead of platitudes, she gives real research and practical tips. Instead of a do-as-I-do-because-I-have-it-all figured out tone, she is the warm best friend next door who is also trying the best she can, but with data. Heck, my kids are grown and yet I tacked her Mantras up on my bulletin board because her advice works for parenting 20-somethings too. My only regret is that I didn’t have this book on my bed stand back when those boys were younger, because we all might have come through with a few fewer bumps and blowups.”

~ Lisa Belkin, former editor, The New York Times Motherlode blog

With parenthood, it’s impossible to enjoy every minute. But you can enjoy more of your minutes if you follow KJ’s researched, practical tips to build happiness into the realities of daily life. Highly recommended for anyone whose kids sometimes drive them crazy.

~ Laura Vanderkam, author of Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done

Got a Book Club?

What could be better than using your adult time to discuss how to be a happier parent? And preparing for your book club night is easy with our free discussion guide.

Register below, and you’ll get to download the discussion guide for How to Be a Happier Parent delivered to your inbox. Happy book clubbing!

 



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About the Author

  • I believe each of us is responsible for our own happiness.
  • I believe happier parents are better parents, and better people.
  • I believe family should be a source of joy and refuge, not another stressor in a busy life.
  • I believe we can be happy even when things aren’t great.

We can raise our families, live our lives, and love (almost) every minute of it?—?if we let go of the idea of parenting as a direct route to destination: success, and decide to meander along our own merry way.

This former New York Times reporter is taking on the rug rat race?—?join me! I wrote and edited the Motherlode blog for the Times from 2011 until 2016 and was a contributing editor to the Well Family section from 2016-2017. Ten minutes in my kitchen would convince you that, while some parts of my family life are enviably together (the Rice Krispie treats on the counter, the meal in the slow cooker) others are works in progress (the child on the floor, wailing that the homework is “too hard”). “How to Be a Happier Parent” is not a memoir (far from it!). Instead, my research, interviews and reporting are geared towards helping all of us figure out “how it’s done” in the bits of family life we find most challenging.

I've got Ten Mantras for Happier Parents (based on the research for my book, How to Be a Happier Parent). They've worked for me—want to try them?

Hi, I’m KJ. Can I send you something?