The Perception of Happiness in Families

The Perception of Happiness in Families

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Guccione begins by discussing the uninteresting perception people have with the lives of happy families. Using a quote from Tolstoy, Guccione shares past data of how people are taught to believe that all happy families are alike, while happy families share a uniqueness through their melange of misery.

This discussion prepares you for her thesis, which explains how happy families struggle and work for the lives they graciously enjoy.

Her thesis is marked by examples of myths, which she dismisses through her research. Successful families, according to her research, must develop skills in negotiating and coping. Guccione also mentions that not all happy families are alike. In fact, each is happy in its own way. She stresses how successful families earn their happiness and that it is not simply known to them.
There were three sections of the body in Guccione's essay. The first part of the body discussed the notion of boundaries among families. Balance was another key term and she uses the living call as an example: "Families must be strong enough to allow integrity and and interaction within, yet be permeable to the outside."

Guccione's research also led her to the importance of family members feeling that they are an intimate part of a group. She stresses that a frequently encountered problem is families where no one belongs, "where people come and go" as she puts it. Guccione then takes you into the life of a woman, Peg, who now lives an extremely happy life with her family. Previously, Peg had severe problems with her family and was unhappy. However, by creating a balance, she was able to negotiate and cope with the problem.

The section closes with Peg, the difficulties she lived and the ones yet to come. Overall, she expresses relief in knowing that hard work leads to happiness.

The second part of the body enters the world of single parents, how they cope with life in order to reach true happiness. Guccione begins by showing her research of how happy families posses a mutual thread; "the ability to maintain the balance between individual freedom and the need people have to belong to a group." She also encourages families to help each individual member reach their own potential.

Guccione then tells the tale of Marie, a single mother raising her two boys, aged 11 and 13.

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Since her divorce, Marie was living in a world of rejection and it took a while before she managed to cope and negotiate with the difficulties she was living. With support from close friends and her mother, Marie developed the ability to make the best of the situation and be happy. Her children still maintain a relationship with their father and live happily with their mother.
The final section prepares the reader for a written analysis of families and the second marriage. This time, Guccione writes about Jenine, a woman now in her second marriage. Her story begins with the negative pitfall of the remarriage. Jenine learned to accept her husbands past and to not be intimidated by it. She coped and negotiated with the situation, accepting her husbands two daughters and respecting their unconditional love for their mother. Guccione concludes by sharing Jenine's realization living her new life "without anguish or divided loyalties."

The conclusion is a reminder of the point Guccione made throughout the entire essay; the importance of negotiating and coping. Guccione emphasizes her belief that "a normal family approach begins by recognizing that every human being has problems in living." She than continues by stating that: " every person and every family has strength wich they can use to cope with difficulties", and that task is very important for achieving this, as happiness is something that is earned, not inherited.
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