9 ways to raise a happy child
Being a parent is very challenging, especially when it comes to the emotional development of the child. When they are born, most children seem happy: smiling and gurgling –proving that their basic needs are satisfied. But this is beginning to change as things become more complex and their needs grow. That childish anger, which generally occurs by the third month of life, is a way of communication that, from his perspective, the parent fail to meet his needs.
Although all children are happy, maintaining that happiness throughout childhood and adolescence until adulthood isn’t a given fact. Most times, if children are not happy, it is not because they are bad or have major psychological problems, but because they were not taught to be happy.
If they are not happy during their childhood, they will not be happy even as adults. As a parent, one of the greatest gifts you can give your child is the gift of knowing how they can be happy.
In this article, we will show you 10 ways to teach your child how to be happy on his own – without relying exclusively on you for his own happiness. Teaching your child how to be happy should not be different from learning to use the bathroom, tie his shoes,or ride a bike – skills that are best learned early in life.
1. Make sure your message gets to him
If you want to teach your child something, you need to enter his world and realize that their world is different from yours. Your child is a small adult who, although smaller in stature, is fully capable to understand the ideas and language of adults.
Listen to your child and adapt your language to the level of his understanding. If your child doesn’t understand you, he can’t learn from you.
2. Be your child’s emotional coach
Children today have all sorts of coaches – football coaches, gymnastics coaches, people who help them be successful and competitive. What they seem to be missing is perhaps a person to coach them on their emotions – anger, fear, sadness and happiness – and what to do with these emotions.In our opinion, this is the role of parents. As the first and probably the most influential adult in your child’s life, you have the unique chance to become his emotional coach. Here are some tips to remember:
- Set your main goal to raise a happy child: Put happiness first – before education, popularity and so on, which contribute to the success of your child, but these are not the only ones which determines his happiness. If you don’t believe it, think about the unhappy young celebrities with various problems, or the anxious adolescents attending prestigious universities hoping to make their parents proud of their results and you will see the truth in what we’re suggesting you.
- Be active when interacting with your child.When raising a child is not the time to be passive. Take your child to places that make you happy and explain why this place creates positive emotions for you. For example, if you are happy at the seaside, you can take your child to the beach and say something like “I’m so happy / glad you are on the beach because I can swim, read and be with my family, and these are my favorite activities. “Also you can ask him where he thinks he could be happy: “At cinema?”, “At Zoo?” – and take a walk with him there.
- Share your favorite activities with him. For example, if you like to read, you can lead your child to a bookstore or a library and share with him the pleasure of browsing a book. If you like the smell of a new book (who doesn’t?), find a book you like, open it and breathe the scent of a new book. Ask, then, your child if he wants to do the same. Also you may show the cover of a book you like, then you can ask him to show you the covers of a book he likes and so on.
- Discover the games that your child wants to play and play these games with him.Don’t just tell your child to find a playmate, kids love when their parents sit on the floor and play with them. Tell him about the happiest times of your life, they will surely want to experience the same things.
- Be proactive.Don’t wait until you see that your child is unhappy before you do something about this. Wake your child on a Saturday morning and tell him, with all the enthusiasm, “Let’s go and have a truly happy day – just you and me!” As the famous line from the movie “The Godfather”, make your child an offer that he can’t refuse! I guarantee you that he will remember that day for the rest of his life.
3. Distinguish between needs and wants
Human needs are few – air, water, food, shelter – things that contribute directly to survival. The rest of life is made up of wants. Your duty as a parent is to help your child find acceptable and effective ways to satisfying desires so that they can keep hoping to be happy. You can show him which wants – to be the boss in the games with other children, to get a new toy every time you go to a store –are not necessarily sources of happiness in life.
4. Teach your child the art of mastery
One of your duties as a parent is to teach your child to have control and be good at something. Here are just some of the things you can help your child be a master of:
• Reading: Reading is a source of joy for many people. Read to your child even after he learned to read. Don’t just buy books to your child, ask him what books he reads and read what he likes to read, and you will share with him the pleasure to read.
• Coloring: When children learn to color, they are building their organizing skills for later. If your child shows a particular interest in drawing and painting, encourage him in that same direction and find fun ideas to put his artistic skills into practice
• Writing: This could simply include calligraphic writing, without mistakes, until achieving good skills of writing essays. Writing is, after all, an important form of communication, and when children succeed in writing a short poem or story, this could bring a lot of joy to them
• Playing with others: Children should learn to get along with other children. They must follow the rules of fair play, things that can be learned by playing games. Children who will be successful later are those who master the art of cooperation. Children who cheat and who are always crying and shouting when things don’t work as they want will do the same in adult life.
• Being interested in what other children want and like: All children believe at first that they are the center of the universe. For this reason it is expected that everyone around should meet their desires. It is normal to think so up to a point, but they need to perceive the world as having a variety of people whose interests need also be taken account. This is the true value of having brothers and sisters or playmates in the neighborhood –the children learn to share the world.
• Being respectful of others: A rude child will become a disrespectful husband, neighbor, and employee. Respect might be translated by the following statement: “I value you and what you do.” And it is also about setting limits. Teach your child that it is never okay to open someone’s mail, look in mom’s purse or take things that do not belong to them. Each of us has the right to privacy and property.
• Playing sports: It doesn’t have to be something very competitive, it can be ping pong, for example.
• Leadership: leadership skills and attitudes can be developed in all children. The best thing parents can do is to give children the opportunity to lead – it can be as simple as telling your child something like, “Today you will be the one to choose how to spend this day. “
5. Teach your child how to be a happy loser
Don’t let your child grow up believing that happiness is the same with winning, because it isn’t. But if your child thinks so, then he will always go to no end of trouble to win, and this will determine him to have an aversion to his self and feel unhappy when he loses.
Some parents think it is wrong – even harmful, psychologically speaking – to beat their kid to a game. It is natural to want your child to learn to win, but it is equally important to show him that losing is not the end of the world.
6. Encourage any form of play
Play is a source of happiness for children and adults. The game also contributes to social development, the lessons people learn from childhood games influence the social life of the future adult.
7. To accept imperfections
At any age, seeking perfection can be overwhelming. Perfection is an ideal and not a reality. If you insist to have a perfect child, you will be disappointed and unhappy – and your child will see the disappointment in your eyes.
All human beings (including you!) have flaws, weaknesses and imperfections and also some unique talents that together define our personalities. Children need to know that there is no perfection, that a small grade isn’t the end of the world or, if they are not among the most popular students in the school, it does not mean he is a loser.
Thus, children need a break from time to time and hear you saying more often, “I love you. Nobody is perfect.”
8. Teach your child commitment and perseverance
Two of the most important lessons a parent can teach his children are commitment and perseverance. Being a player and not a spectator is one of the three elements of a person’s strength: a resilient person with high self-confidence, fully committed to life.
Perseverance is the quality of person not accustomed to give up. For this reason it is recommended that children be given the opportunity to finish something important, to feel the sense of pride and accomplishment that only comes at the end, and to be happy with himself as a result.
9. Let your child see you happy
Emotions are contagious. If your child sees you sad and unhappy all the time, it is very probable that he should adopt the same attitude. The good news is that the same applies to positive emotions. So, if your child sees you happy, he will be happier, too. Children need to see you smile, hear you laughing and saying, “Today is a happy day!” once in a while.
Children are like sponges: they absorb everything around them. The best thing you can do to help them be happy throughout life is to be happy yourself and share happiness with them.
W. Doyle Gentry, Happiness for Dummies