If you’re a parent, you probably want nothing more than to raise happy children. You want them each to have a childhood that feels comfortable and safe, as well as bringing them joy. You know that their experiences in childhood can have an effect on how they approach life in the future, and you want to do everything you can to contribute to their chances of living a satisfying life in the future.
Add all the contradictory parenting advice out there to the mix, and you’re bound to feel a little unsure or overwhelmed about how to give your kids the best start towards having a content lifestyle. Fortunately, scientific research has been conducted over a multitude of dimensions regarding what leads to happiness in children. Let’s break some of them down into three aspects of happy kids based on science. It seems that a great deal of the research on the subject leads us to the characteristics of parents, outside relationships and self-regulation.
Characteristics of Parents
One of the key components for raising upbeat and emotionally healthy children is to be that way yourself. It’s been shown that kids whose parents are happy are also likely to be happy. It makes sense that adults who manage their stress well and are generally content will be able to have the necessary energy required for taking care of their children.
Parents as role models
Kids depend on their parents for more than simply providing the basics of survival. They look to the caregivers in their life as a model for how to approach life. If your kids see that you are nurtured across various areas of your life, and that you have the emotional energy to attend to their needs, they will feel more secure. This security does wonders for enabling them to approach life in a manner that is open to abundance.
Along these lines, it is important to embrace happiness as a family unit. Doing so sends the message that being cheerful is important. One way to do this is to celebrate often. Of course, there are the special days for which celebrations are expected. However, taking time to make a big deal over the everyday things such as a stellar report card or the last day of school carry just as great an impact, and perhaps more so, because celebrating these things demonstrates intention. You’re going out of your way to express joy when it’s not expected. Implementing family traditions is another way to instil a sense of happiness in your kids.
Ensuring that your marriage (or other primary relationship) is strong goes a long way towards cementing a sense of positivity in your kids. When children see that those who are responsible for their care are content within their own relationship, it allows them the security to pursue their own endeavours without worrying about their solid foundation at home.
Building healthy and positive relationships with others has a significant impact on the overall wellbeing of children. Interacting with others allows children to learn about interpersonal relations. In healthy and supportive relationships, kids learn that it’s safe to trust people and to open up to them. They also learn about ‘give and take’. Having an understanding of compromise early on can go a long way towards building safe, secure and healthy relationships in the future.
Doing good is feeling good
In addition, doing good for others increases levels of satisfaction in children. Teaching your kids to be compassionate and encouraging them to give back is a tremendous way to raise levels of contentedness. People simply feel good when doing good for others. Teaching your kids that they share the planet with a variety of people allows them to feel a part of something even greater. There have been a number of negative outcomes when it comes to a lack of relationships. These include psychiatric problems, legal issues and academic difficulties.
Much of kids’ overall levels of fulfilment come from inside themselves. Those who learn about self regulation and management from an early age will undoubtedly continue to build upon those abilities throughout their lifespan. You can help to instil your children’s inner happiness meter by teaching them skills such as self-sufficiency, body confidence, emotional intelligence, positive thinking and self-discipline. Allowing your kids to be self-sufficient and to practise independence is one of the most important steps you can take towards promoting their happiness.
Learning from mistakes
Learning and making mistakes are crucial parts of life. Kids who aren’t given the opportunity to think for themselves, to try new things and to make mistakes will become dependent and fearful as they go through life. Encourage your children to try new activities, to figure out what they’d like to do for the day or even to come up with ideas for their own punishments. This type of critical thinking will make them emotionally stronger individuals.
Dealing with negative emotions
Speaking of emotions, self-regulation of negative emotions and proper expression of them are also means by which children can learn to become more satisfied adults. If you teach them at an early age how to handle things such as anger, disappointment and frustration in healthy ways, they will be able to grow more satisfying relationships and feel more confident in their own abilities to handle life’s struggles.
Supporting body confidence
Body image is a big deal in our society. The media portrays an image that being thin is the only acceptable form of beauty, especially for girls. This can lead to emotional destruction throughout one’s life. However, building a more realistic view of body image can go a long way towards instilling confidence around the way your children feel about their appearance. Be mindful of your statements regarding your own body and how you feel about it. Demonstrating confidence in this manner can have a big impact on your kids.
These are just some examples of the science of happy kids. As you can see, there are a number of proactive steps you can take across three primary life aspects that can help to improve the chances of raising a well-adjusted and content child. Are you a parent and do you have any solid advice to give? Just post your comments below.