Do you ever stop and think…
What makes a child happy?
I ask this question before training. You can’t help but ask when you see happy, energetic kids followed by the sluggish –shoulders pressed to the ground- defeated children.
We all want the same things for our kids…
Health, success…to grow up to love and be loved…to chase down their dreams and punch the air in victory.
Sitting high on the list…we want our children to be happy.
Where do all the happy children come from?
Research in child psychology clearly shows that happy children are the product of happy homes.
I see it all the time…
On the training field…kids that are unhappy and scared.
Sure…you might get a smile with some tomfoolery but the solution cannot be found on the green pastures.
The journey to happiness starts at home…with you!
Make the Connection
“ A connected childhood is the key to happiness” Edward Hall MD Child Psychiatrist
Create an environment where the child feels love…it’s not enough to say “I love my children”…they need to FEEL it.
“We know from 50 years of research that social connections are an incredibly important, if not the most important, contributor to happiness…and it’s not just the quality, but also the quantity of the bonds, the more connections your child makes the better” Christine Carter PhD
Pass the Parcel
What most parents tend to forget- myself included- is that happiness cannot be passed on like some little parcel. One of the best ways to make your child happy is to stop trying to make them happy.
“Stop trying to make your child happy”
It sounds counterintuitive…borderline insane but it’s the truth. Individuals are responsible for their own happiness. Never give that away…I laugh when I hear people complain about how he /she made them feel a certain way (insert laughter here). Only you can control your state of mind.
Remove the protective bubble you’ve suffocated your child in and let them experience some difficulties. Short-term misery for long term happiness seems like a great deal.
Recognise that you are not responsible for your child’s happiness.
Read that again!
Parents who feel responsible for their kid’s happiness have great difficulty allowing them to feel anger, frustrations and even sadness. We swoop in like superheroes to protect our children even if its with a fake smile…even when you know you’re reinforcing the wrong behaviours.
But here’s the deal…
Children who never deal with negative emotions are at risk of being CRUSHED by them as teenagers and adults.
This is the light bulb moment for me…
Once you accept that you cannot make your child feel happiness…or any other emotion…you can stop trying to “fix” them and allow them to build their own character, backbone and resilience.
Step back and allow them to think, feel and reflect on their emotions.
While we can’t control our children’s happiness, we can certainly control our own. Be the change you want to see in your children. They do not need another dictator…they need to feel and absorb your happiness.
Here’s a thought…
Happy parents are likely to have happy kids!
The best thing you can do for your child is be HAPPY. Nurture your relationship with your family.
“If parents have a really good committed relationship, the child’s happiness often naturally follows”
It’s tough and I can picture my partner rolling her eyes.
Pass the Sugar Coating
Praise the right stuff and eliminate all the artificial sweeteners.
Our child kicks a goal and we declare him the next Ronaldo.
He scores 100% in a test and he’s the next Einstein waiting to be shipped off to Mensa.
Praising results is the best way to destroy your child’s chance of any happiness. The solution is not to eliminate praise…far from it.
The solution is to praise EFFORT…HARD WORK…PERSISTENCE that goes into achieving results…not the result.
We need to raise children that believe results come from hard work and practice.
Remember to praise effort…not the scoreboard.
Children have an innate need to be needed. While it can be difficult to watch our kids struggle…the only path to happiness and even a professional contract is through the process of failure.
“May the winds of destiny blow you to the stars”