In Flourishing Families, Denise Dziwak invites us into the home she shares with her husband and three children. Each chapter takes readers into a different room and describes how she and her family strive to live there “in peace and harmony.”
We first follow Dziwak into the foyer, where she relays her views on building a family “team.” Readers next visit the family room, where she talks about family activities, emotions, and more, and later readers head into the bathroom, where she urges parents to encourage body awareness, among other ideas. Each room prompts discussion of various family issues and each chapter ends with an activity and a “My Notes” page. Dziwak views many topics through a New Age lens, noting, for example, that some illnesses are a “soul process” and we should “treat them as such.”
Flourishing Families provides an interesting conceit and offers some useful advice. For example, if Dziwak’s children have a playdate, she suggests they hide their favorite toys so they won’t be afraid their friends will break them. She’s also wise about inviting company over, explaining to her children who is coming and why that person is special.
Often, though, her advice seems obvious, such as getting on the floor to play with toddlers. And she frequently veers off topic. For example, an entire chapter is devoted to her “spiritual bunker,” where she rids her body of emotional or physical “anguish” via visualization; while it’s important to nourish yourself to be available to your family, this feels like a subject for a different book.
Finally, she makes unsubstantiated statements, such as: “After three years of age, no child should see its parents’ naked bodies” or suggesting that blocked bowels are caused by emotional hang-ups.
Such issues make this book a mixed bag. Those looking for a streamlined narrative will likely find it frustrating. But patient readers willing to sort through a jumble of ideas should find some helpful advice here.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.