Howdy! I am Karen Melton an assistant professor of Child & Family Studies at Baylor University. My research focuses on healthy family behaviors in relation to quality family time. Specifically, I am interested in the 4R’s of family time–family rituals, routines, recreation, and religion. This website discusses my research and teaching.

My areas of expertise include the intersection of:

  • Family Time & Experiences
  • Family Leisure
  • Travel/Vacations
  • Experience Design
  • Adolescent Development/PYD
  • Family Relations & Well-Being
  • Family Life Education
  • Resource Management
  • Program Design, Evaluation & Effectiveness

I have a special interest in how families cultivate an intentional family identity through the management of their resources (i.e., family time, finances).  Intentional families are needed as the US and many other developing countries seek to have a pluralistic society. Pluralistic societies have no common cultural script of what a family should look like or act like. This provides families with a lot of freedom in choosing their family identity. With this freedom, comes great responsibility for families. And without these normative cultural scripts, families are then charged with the great task of determining their identities, their goals, and then the activities that are going to best help them achieve those goals. That’s a lot to consider. The research on intentional families examines the lives of intentional families to consider general principles for organizing family life.




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