THE HAPPY FUTURE
Ask any mother or father and they will tell you that they would love their children to grow up as happy people, emotionally balanced and prepared to cope with the challenges life will offer them in due time. And they will try everything to fulfill that need for their children. But what makes children happy?
Family, friends, playing, sports and toys are the stones with which you pave the road to happiness for most children, as research has proven. So all you now need is the cement to glue them in place.
Happiness starts with the warm embrace of a safe haven; the feeling that someone will catch you if you fall, no matter what. With that in mind, one of the most important things you can give your child is unconditional love. Children who feel loved and know that their parents will be there for them at all times grow up to be more confident people.They perform better in school and are better at dealing with their emotions compared to children who receive less or little parental love. These children are often more aggressive, impulsive and hyperactive and shy away from new experiences. Furthermore kids who have nurturing moms have a 10% bigger hippocampus, which is the area that controls stress and memory. So there you go, cuddle and love, listen, don’t judge and just be there.
Kids are happy when their parent is happy. And even though you think you can hide your negative or unhappy feelings, it acts like an invisible cloak that burdens your child. In order to raise a happy kid, you must meet your own needs first to become happy and content. Exercise, take up a hobby, meet up with friends and take time for yourself to decompress and unwind.
Kids who grow up with conflict because their parents argue and fight all the time, do worse in school and are more likely to use drugs and alcohol later in life. So the best thing you can do for your child is to engage in respectful communication with your partner and to not fight in front of them. That doesn’t mean you can’t argue, but it is the way in which the argument is played out that determines the influence it has on a child. Note that 80% of children from a broken home because of a divorce do NOT experience psychological problems.
The credo is: Joke, laugh, be silly and make fun with your kids from an early age. These are the necessary tools that give your child a jumpstart on thinking creatively, socializing with more ease and handling stress effectively.
Let go means not hovering over them like a stalking helicopter at all times. Children need to learn by mistakes, by their own experiences and on their own two feet, to grow confidence. So don’t rush in to help if something doesn’t go right on the first try but let your child discover his own solution first. Furthermore, children who have controlling parents tend to develop more anxiety and self consciousness and are less open to new experiences than children who have parents with a more relaxed attitude.
Not all kids are created equal. Thank god for that. Which means that you can’t treat them all equal either. A child who is good at regulating his/her emotions needs less structure and more autonomy. On the other hand, if your child is not so great with regulating emotions, a little more structure might be needed.
Kids these days have less unstructured playtime than they did two decades ago, when it was normal to play outdoors, be active and not glued to the television, tablet or telephone. Activity is very important for kids. It develops their creativity, motorskills, social skills and gives them emotional strength. Research has recently found a connection between increased feelings of depression and ADHD in kids due to a lack of connection with nature and the outdoors. Fresh air and activity boosts energy and a good mood. Another thing is sports. Feeling competent is key to happiness. Children who think they are good at sports have a higher level of wellbeing than kids who are actually good at it.
PRAISE THE RIGHT THING
Don’t praise your child on his abilities or intelligence, instead praise him/her for efforts made. For instance, saying you’re proud of his/her presentation instead of saying you’re so smart is more beneficial.
LET THEM HELP
Although you might not realize it, children need meaning in their lives as much as we do. They feel happy when they can help you or if they can do something special for a friend. This is a great way to boost their confidence too.
As happiness is a choice, we cannot make that choice for our children. Give them the right tools and lead by example. Be positive and respectful. Nurture, love and praise and give them room to develop their own personality and with it, confidence. If we all practice that parenting magic, we might find that the tomorrow’s world will be a happier place…