CHICAGO (WLS) -- A local author has discovered what she says is the secret to a happy family.
Susan Kucamarski, author of "Becoming a Happy Family, Pathways to the Family Soul," has done a decade of research. She said it starts with something so simple that you can actually learn from children.
"Children laugh 400 times a day. Adults, only laugh 15," Kucamarski said.
She said humor is at the top of the formula to a happy family. After 10 years of researching people from different backgrounds, this Chicago author found all families have something in common.
"Every family has a soul. You can't touch the soul of the family, but you're strengthened by it every day," Kucamarski said. So how do you work on a happy "soul?"
Susan points to a new exhibit at the DuPage Children's Museum called XOXO, which teaches children about love and forgiveness. Susan said besides laughter, expressing emotions and compassion are also important to family happiness.
"The most fascinating one was community service. Reaching out together as a family creates a great sense of renewal when we focus on other people," Kucamarski said.
The author and her husband are both working parents, who raised three sons. Kucamarski suggests parents listen to their children instead of trying to fix a problem when they feel like they cannot get through to them.
"Instead of saying, 'Don't worry,' listen to their feelings, mirror back and accept that all they really want is someone to listen to it and accept it," Kucamarski said.
There are many more suggestions in her book. She has taught at eight different universities, including Loyola and Northwestern in Chicago.
Chicago author researches secret to happy family