Giving your kids happy, healthy childhoods could set them up for success in life. But many parents wonder, how exactly do you raise happy kids in today’s world? Raising happy kids isn’t about giving them momentary pleasure or immediate gratification. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
Happy kids have a skill set that allows them to enjoy long-term happiness in life. They’re able to pass up instant gratification in an effort to reach their goals. You can help your kids develop those skills by adopting healthy, lifelong habits.
Raising kids is hard, and raising them in a way that they grow up to be happy kids is harder. As parents, you want to give the best of best to your child and want him to develop a positive attitude towards life, but there’s no one way to do it. There’s no ‘one’ parenting style or technique that can help you to raise your child the way you want. It’s the decisions you make along the way of your parenting journey that will decide how your child will grow up to be.
Having a black belt in the martial arts does not make you a black belt in being a parent for raising happy kids—far from it. Most parents have a level of skill or expertise in at least one area, whether it’s baking, management, DIY, or something else. We know the rules, are familiar with the problems and can craft an outcome that we would like. These are all needed for positive parenting.
So, raising happy kids should be simple, right?
Well, wrong. Simple does not mean easy, and in the current climate of a pandemic, it feels like it just got a little harder as well. But the world needs us at our best right now. If we do not raise our kids to be the best version of themselves, the negativity, the anxiety, the frustration of this generation will come full circle with less creativity and a reduced desire to face challenges. So, we need to raise happy kids.
Team Inspiring Life provides you with 5 tips to raise happy kids.
5 tips to raise happy kids.
1. Teach Self-Control.
Eating an extra cookie, ditching homework for fun with friends, and binge-watching TV instead of doing chores might give kids momentary pleasure. But, in the long run, a lack of self-control hurts more than it helps.
A 2014 study published in the Journal of Personality found that people with better self-control report more good moods. Interestingly, however, researchers noted that people with better self-control also didn’t put themselves in tempting situations as often as other people. They essentially set themselves up to be happy.
Start teaching your child self-discipline at an early age. At the same time, teach her not to surround herself with too many temptations.
2.Try Not to Bring “No” Into Play.
This is a small thing, but when you bring no into play with your kids, it can feel like a win-lose situation, even if you are trying to keep them safe or just showing that you care. Instead, seek a win-win situation.
There is this balance between positive parenting and preparing happy kids for the real world. But probably the hardest of all positive parenting techniques is “avoiding bringing no into play” (ABNITP).
Going a little further, the technique has two parts—ABNITP and the use of positive language.
It does not mean never to use the word ‘no.’ But in the rare cases that it slips out, it’s more powerful and the kids are more wired to accept it.
Here’s an example. Have you ever been on the phone and the kids wanted to talk to you? When you have a child asking you questions and trying to get your attention, it’s easy to say ‘no’ straight away. But rephrasing this to ‘when I finish the call, we’ll talk’ is a win-win mindset. When we feel most tired is when we’re most open to going into a win-lose mindset.
3. Help Your Child Form Good Relationships.
Family and friends bring a lot of happiness as well as memorable moments to cherish forever. Kids might bond easily with family and even with their friends. But parents need to teach them to do that with acquaintances or even neighbors. Your own love for your child should not come with a ‘conditions apply’ tag since he needs to rely on you in various matters. Developing relationships with others, it can further empower him in his identity and develop him into a happy kid.
4. 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 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 mindset-encouraged kids chose a harder puzzle. 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.
5. Practice Gratitude.
Incorporating gratitude into your everyday lives could help kids become happier, healthier people. But, keep in mind that there’s a big difference between forcing a “thank you” and genuinely meaning it.
A 2012 research on gratitude found that grateful people enjoy better relationships—and that can be key to living a happier life. One of the best ways to help kids become genuinely grateful is by modeling gratitude.
Make it a family habit to talk about the things you feel grateful for. Identify three things you’re grateful for at the dinner table or talk about what you’re grateful for at bedtime. This will help your children learn to look for things they can be grateful for in their daily lives.
Make it a habit to send thank you notes too. Instead of just signing his name, encourage your child to identify something specific he wants to thank someone for. You don’t have to save thank you notes for gifts either. You might encourage your child to write a thank you note to his teacher for helping him during the school year or you might write a note to a coach who was especially kind.