How to Teach Your Kids about Being Happy in Themselves

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Parenting Tips

by Steve Hill

What does a person covet the most in life? Success, riches, security? No, the answer is happiness. We strive all through our lives to catch hold of that elusive happiness. People with kids want their kids to be happy and content as much as themselves. In fact, parents all over the world concern themselves with their children's happiness over most other concerns that they may have in their lives. Oftentimes, what is suitable for a child may not always make them happy. However, the two need not be mutually exclusive. A balance needs to be struck between the two. For eg: Eating fresh and green leafy vegetables is healthy for a growing child. A growing child may not want to eat this in their meals. They may crave a McDonald’s burger. However, the parents can intelligently tackle this issue by making them a home-made burger with fresh vegetables. What happens is that the kid’s nutritional needs are met and they are content with their meal too. A clever balance has been affected between what is good for your child and what makes them happy.

Happy children grow up to be successful adults. So how do you raise happy children?

Six Steps for How to Raise Happy Kids

Children are impressionable. You can teach them how to be happy and they will imbibe this less into their lives. Practice and put into play the following steps, and you will be successful in raising children that are confident and happy.

1. Build a Happy Household 

If you want your children to be happy, it is integral that you be happy yourself. You cannot be down and depressed and expect your children not to become affected by your unhappiness. Even if things are not going your way, put a smile on your face. It will make your misfortune more bearable and contribute to a happy atmosphere in your family. Encourage laughter and joy in the household, your children will automatically grow into happy human beings. 

2. Instill in Them a Sense of Respect for Others

Social relationships are a major source of happiness in our lives. Often when we are not in the best of moods ourselves, our friends and family invest time and effort in cheering us up. Lack of social support can impact a person’s mental health detrimentally. As parents, we need to teach our kids how to interact and form relationships with others. We need to teach them how to respect another’s needs and communicate with them in a manner that they find comfortable.

3. Don’t Impose Unrealistic Standards of Expectation on Your Kids

It’s okay to expect your kid to do academically well but you shouldn’t always pressurize them to get perfect grades on every test. It puts too much stress on your kids and takes away from their self-esteem when they fail to perform according to your expectations. Recognize and praise the effort that your kid puts into realizing your expectations from them. Don’t admonish them for performing poorly at school occasionally.

4. Instill Hope in Them

Your kids shouldn’t feel discouraged by a loss or two. One must lose in order to win important life lessons. How else will they cherish their wins if they don’t lose at all? Teach your kid to be optimistic and not to lose hope after they’ve suffered defeat. Teach them the value of being persistent and hardworking. Optimistic children deal less with anxiety and depression as they grow up. They are able to perform better at academics and in their career. Additionally, these people also give in more effort into maintaining their relationships as they cultivate the mindset that in the end, their efforts will bear fruit.

5. Make it Okay for Them to Experience Negative Emotions

Many families try to repress the expression of negative emotions. Nothing can be unhealthier for a child than this. When a child grows up in such an environment, they begin to dissociate from their feelings. They don’t value their feelings and have no interest in venting negative emotions. It can greatly impact their behavior and their life, in general. If negative emotions are allowed to accumulate, it interferes with one’s judgement and wellbeing. An individual needs to give vent to these emotions. Our society fails in its treatment of negative emotions. While we are encouraged to indulge our positive emotions, say for instance, on social media – we are expected to hide or hush up our emotional difficulties. Parents who want their children to grow up happy should make space for a healthy expression of their anger and disappointment as much as they welcome their laughter and joy.

6. Make Room for Play-Time

Play works the same way to boost a child's mental wellbeing as meditation does for us. Physical exercise of any kind boosts feel-good hormones in our brain and for this reason, kids should be allowed to participate in sports as much as they are encouraged to sit down and study. Playtime enables them to develop their creativity and problem-solving skills. It also provides them a space for social interaction. Essentially, play improves a kid's physical, mental and emotional wellbeing. So as a parent, you must schedule play time to be part of your child's daily routine as much as the hours you set aside for their study.

Summing Up

Parents can do certain things to make their kids lead happier lives. They can try to keep happy and positive themselves. They can encourage their children to interact socially with others instead of being glued to their multimedia screens. Parents can make sitting down to eat dinner together as a family into a tradition. It will make their kids feel like they're more of a family. Unlike adults, kids aren't very wise to subtleties. They need to be shown explicitly that in order to cultivate happiness, proactive efforts help. Additionally, they need to be told that it's just as okay to experience negative emotions as it is positive ones, to deal with negativity positively and choose the positive emotions over the rest.

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