03 Sep How to raise happy children
As any parent out there would know, you’re only ever as happy as your unhappiest child!
And as any parent would also know, one of the top priorities we have for our children is … their happiness.
What more could we want for those we love than health and happiness? Not much, really. And here’s how you can achieve this…
via the Ladders by Eric Barker
When you ask parents what they want for their kids, what’s usually the most common reply? They want their children to be happy.
… the well-being of children is more important to adults than just about anything else–health care, the well-being of seniors, the cost of living, terrorism, and the war in Iraq. More than two-thirds of adults say they are “extremely concerned” about the well-being of children, and this concern cuts across gender, income, ethnicity, age, and political affiliation.
Sometimes it’s hard to balance what’s best for children with what makes them happy — but the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive.
Happier kids are more likely to turn into successful, accomplished adults.
…happiness is a tremendous advantage in a world that emphasizes performance. On average, happy people are more successful than unhappy people at both work and love. They get better performance reviews, have more prestigious jobs, and earn higher salaries. They are more likely to get married, and once married, they are more satisfied with their marriage.
So looking at the science, what really works when it comes to raising happy kids?
Step 1: Get happy yourself
The first step to happier kids is, ironically, a little bit selfish.
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 acting out and other behavior problems. Parental depression actually seems to cause behavioral problems in kids; it also makes our parenting less effective.
And this is not merely due to genetics.
…although the study did find that happy parents are statistically more likely to have happy children, it couldn’t find any genetic component.
So what’s the first step to being a happier you? Take some time each week to have fun with friends.
Because laughter is contagious, hang out with friends or family members who are likely to be laughing themselves. Their laughter will get you laughing too, although it doesn’t even need to in order to lighten your mood. Neuroscientists believe that hearing another person laugh triggers mirror neurons in a region of the brain that makes listeners feel as though they are actually laughing themselves.
More scientific methods for increasing your happiness here.
Step 2: Teach them to build relationships
Nobody denies learning about relationships is important — but how many parents actually spend the time to teach kids how to relate to others?
(Just saying “Hey, knock it off” when kids don’t get along really doesn’t go far in building essential people skills.)
It doesn’t take a lot. It can start with encouraging kids to perform small acts of kindness to build empathy.
This not only builds essential skills and makes your kids better people, research shows over the long haul it makes them happier.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients who were trained to provide compassionate, unconditional positive regard for other MS sufferers through monthly fifteen-minute telephone calls “showed pronounced improvement in self-confidence, self-esteem, depression, and role functioning” over two years. These helpers were especially protected against depression and anxiety.
More on creating good relationships here.
Step 3: Expect effort, not perfection
Note to perfectionist helicopter parents and Tiger Moms: cool it.
Relentlessly banging the achievement drum messes kids up.
Parents who overemphasize achievement are more likely to have kids with high levels of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse compared to other kids.
The research is very consistent: Praise effort, not natural ability.
The majority of the kids praised for their intelligence wanted the easier puzzle; they weren’t going to risk making a mistake and losing their status as “smart.” On the other hand, more than 90 percent of growth mind-set-encouraged kids chose a harder puzzle.
Why? Dweck explains: “When we praise children for the effort and hard work that leads to achievement, they want to keep engaging in that process. They are not diverted from the task of learning by a concern with how smart they might — or might not — look.”
More on praising correctly here…
…keep reading the full & original article HERE