For the world, the unattainable question is: “What is the secret of the universe?” For the parent, it’s: How can I raise happy children?” In reality, there is no single answer or way to make your kids happy. Every child has a different personality and different needs you’ll need to address.
Happy children grow into happy adults, which makes starting young on this character trait very important. Whether your children suffer from mental illnesses or simply have a case of bad self-esteem, here are a few things that can help them understand what it’s like to be happy.
To children, family is their greatest sense of connection. They don’t know much else except that their family is supposed to love them and be there for them in everything they do. Set your kids up for a life of emotional support by making that strong connection, and fostering familial ties so that your children have no doubt that they are loved and supported.
2. Help Them Make Connections
It’s also important for your kids to make connections outside of their family members. Obtaining a sense of belonging in society as children is the key to them becoming well-rounded, happy members of society as they grow. When your kids spend time with friends and learn social norms and expectations, it will allow them to feel like an important part of the world, fostering feelings of joy.
3. Don’t Try So Hard
Catering to every whim and desire of your kids in an effort to make them happy will actually make them miserable in the end. You are not entirely responsible for your child’s happiness. Once you’ve cultivated a healthy environment for your kids, let them know they are loved, and taught them the principles of happiness through example, your children are responsible for taking that knowledge and finding happiness for themselves. You can’t force happiness upon them or “fix” their feelings.
4. Keep a Positive Attitude
Emulate happiness through a consistent positive attitude. Teach your children that they’re in control of any situation, and that positivity is the best way to approach challenges. Showing them that a positive attitude is possible even in the face of trials is a great way to teach a happy attitude.
5. Offer Praise Correctly
Believe it or not, but there is a correct way to praise your children. Self-esteem and happiness are directly linked, and your children can’t have one without the other. As a rule of thumb, to foster high self-esteem in your children, praise the effort rather than the result. Instead of focusing on the fact that your son scored the winning touchdown in the football game, praise the effort that got him there. Likewise, instead of telling your daughter how beautiful she is everyday, praise her talent for doing her hair or selecting fashionable clothes. It’s okay to praise the result as long as the effort is included.
6. Let Them Be Sad
Remember that your children will not be happy 100 percent of the time, and that’s okay. Your children would never know what it truly means to be happy if they didn’t experience deep sadness at some point. Allow your children to cry and express their negative feelings, and then work with them to turn the situation around, showing them that happiness is attainable even at the saddest times.
Lasting happiness for your children is only found through your constant efforts to teach the principles. By cultivating an environment that teaches love, self-worth, gratitude, and positivity, your children will be able to find happiness for themselves.