Telling family stories about crazy Uncle Joe or other eccentric relatives is a favorite pastime when families gather for the holidays. But will squirming children or Instagram-obsessed teens bother to listen?
Actually, kids absorb more information from family stories than most adults think. And that knowledge bestows surprising psychological benefits, research shows.
The best holiday stories are funny or entertaining and often convey life lessons, says Robyn Fivush, a psychology professor and director of Emory University’s Institute for Liberal Arts. “They have a very important function in teaching children, ‘I belong here. I’m part of these stories.’ They provide not just a script for life, but a set of values and guideposts,” she says.
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