Happiness is the ultimate goal of everyone. As a parent, there is nothing more we want to ensure our child is happy.
In today’s competitive society and surrounding by peer pressure, parents are working to raise up smart and successful kids. But how do we raise happy kids? Is it giving into their every whim and granting kids more screen time? Or is it about love, secure attachments, patience and validating their experiences?
Why happiness is an ultimate goal to focus on in parenting and what are the benefits of Happiness?
According to research, happier kids are more likely to become successful and accomplished adults. On average, happy people are more successful than unhappy people at both career and relationship. They get better performance reviews, have more successful career and earn higher salaries. They are more likely to get married and they are more satisfied with their marriage.
Genuine happiness associated with concreate positive outcomes in kids such as better school attendance, better academic performance, better self-esteem and better overall mental and physical health.
Tips to raise Happy kids: 7 steps backed by science.
1. Foster connections
Parents should be involved in their children’s lives and have conversations with them about what is happening, understand their emotions and help them to problem-solve difficult situations. By talking and walking with them through these hard situations, we help our children learn how to handle the problems they are facing and equip them with skills for what they will face in future.
As little as 10-15 minutes a day during mealtime or bedtime is a good time to foster connections with kids.
I use to foster connection with my two boys during bedtime by sharing with each other how are our daily life. Such as what I did throughout the day and my boys will update me their school life, activities they did and their feelings. Instil this habit with your kids is important, so that they will connect and share more with you when they turn into adolescence and adults.
2. Practice gratitude
Harvard Health reminds us that in psychology research, gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness. Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, deal with adversity, build strong relationships and improve their health,
How can parents foster gratitude in children? Ask them to take time daily to name aloud something they are thankful for. Then, make it a regular ritual. "This is one habit that will foster all kinds of positive emotions and it can lead to lasting happiness", says sociologist Christine Carter, Ph.D., executive director of the University of California at Berkeley's Greater Good Science Centre, an organization devoted to the scientific understanding of happiness.
Suggest with your kids to name at least 2 things they are grateful for today. Take turn to share between parents and kids to practice attitude of gratitude.
3. Get Happy Yourself
How happy you are affects how happy and successful your kids are dramatically. Extensive research has established a substantial link between mothers who feel depressed and “negative outcomes” in their children, such as causing behavioural problems in kids and it makes our parenting less effective.
Hence, Parents should ensure proper health, including sleep, nutrition, and exercise. One of the best things you can do for your child's emotional well-being is to attend to yours.
4. Don’t try to make your child happy
It sounds counterintuitive, but the best thing we can do for our child’s long-term happiness is to stop trying to keep them happy. If we grant them their every wish and desire, that is what they grow to expect in life, but the real world doesn’t work that way.
Parents should recognize that we are not responsible for our child’s happiness. Parents who feel responsible for their kids’ emotions will have great difficulty allowing them to experience anger, sadness or frustration. Children who never learn to deal with negative emotions are in danger of being crushed by setbacks as adolescents and adults.
The great mistake good parents make is doing too much for our children. While it can be difficult to watch our kids struggle, they will never know the thrill of mastery unless we allow them to risk failure. And through repeated experiences of mastery, they develop the can-do attitude that will let them approach future challenges with the zest and optimism that are central to a happy life.
Allow your kids to failure and experience the reality in life, will teach kids to be resilient.
5. Teach child to build Relationship
As we know that relationship is important, but how many parents actually spend time to teach their kids how to relate to others? This will build essential skills that makes your kids to be better people. Research shows that over the long haul, relationship building makes them happier.
Start with encouraging kids to perform small acts of kindness to build empathy, relationship with people.
6. Teach Self-discipline
Self-discipline facilitates learning and information processing. In addition, self-disciplined kids cope better with frustration and stress and tend to have a greater sense of social responsibility. Kids who better resisted temptation went on with much better lives years later and were happier.
Self-discipline in kids is more predictive of future success than intelligence.
7. Dinner Together
This simple traditional helps mould better kids and makes them happier too.
Studies show that kids who eat dinner with their families on a regular basis are more emotionally stable and less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. They got better academic performance, they have fewer depressive symptoms, particularly among adolescent girls. And they are less likely to become obese or have an eating disorder.
Meal time is the great opportunity for family bonding with our kids. Put aside devices and enjoy the fun of eating together.
Happy reading and see you in my next blog!
About the Author
Hi, I am Christy Lim. I am the mother of two boys, 2-year-old Josiah and four-year-old Solomon. 😊
Being a new parent, I am always researching how to raise children who are happy, creative, and emotionally stable.
It is more challenging than ever to be a parent in today's world with mobile devices, tablets, and TV screen time. Parenting is an art, and there is no one way to do it properly since every child is unique and special.
My hope is that by sharing my research in this blog, parents might find some tips and ideas to help them on their parenting journey, which is both challenging and rewarding at the same time.