There are actually steps you can take to make sure you are raising children who will always look on the sunny side of things.
How many of you know happiness can be learned? Happiness is a skill trait rather than an inborn personality trait. We were all born with the natural ability to feel sadness, anger, and frustration. However, if we teach our children at a young age the language of happiness they will naturally gravitate to it first.
So many times children focus on their own needs rather than on helping others. When a child see’s their parents giving and helping other’s they are raised in an environment of intentionally looking for service to give. It’s interesting; children who are raised thinking when they ‘have’ material things they are happy vs. children who are raised to give usually end up being the one’s who get more.
When parents teach a child that making caring for other’s a priority by stressing kindness over happiness and provide opportunities for their children to actually practice caring and gratitude
it expands the child’s circle of concern to more than just a ‘me’ or ‘mine’ thinking.
This all starts with parents and grandparents attitudes. Children watched and hear everything we do and say. I recently attended a conference with Martin Seligman, director of the positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania. One thing I wrote in my notes was him giving this advice as an example for parents to use rather than complaining that the line in the grocery store is too long, try saying “This line is moving so fast, we’ll be out of here in no time at all.” Optimism needs to be directed by the adults and the children will follow.
I also do not think parents should focus on perfection. Children need to hear that they should do the best they can. Psychologist say it’s more important to praise children for their effort and hard work than for their intelligence or skills. We need to teach our children that it is totally ok to make mistakes–teach them that most of life’s lessons are learned from mistakes that have been made. I was not a very great student and had a hard time focusing, I think a B+ is cause for a celebration. Perfection will and never has been achieved by anyone I know.
Some Do’s and Don’ts from my perspective:
Do: Allow your children some downtime–less stress equals happier children
Don’t: Be the mom who pushes her children to succeed at all costs
Do: Make some “me” time a happy mom leads to happy children
Don’t: Devote every second you have to your children, no matter how much they want you to
Do: Encourage quality time with their dad. Feeling loved by dad is more important than feeling loved by mom.
Don’t: Think you’re doing your children’s father a favor by handling all child-rearing responsibilities, we don’t live in the 50’s
Do: Customize your parenting approach to your child’s personality. Some children need structure, while other’s may flourish with authority. Every child is different
Don’t: Use a one size fits all approach to parenting or discipline
Do: Draw boundaries. Children thrive on routine, so stick to your guns and enforce bedtime.
Don’t: Try to be your child’s best friend
Do: Relish the messes. Too often I missed moments of joy because I was worried about small insignificant things like the dishes in the sink
Don’t: Be a neat freak, forgetting to have fun and quality time for a bunch of chores.
XOXO Monya Bonbon