What do we really want for our children ? Health, wealth, success, love, satisfaction — this list would be common for most of us as parents. Essentially all of us want the same things for our kids. We want them to want them to be HAPPY. But just how much control do we have over our children’s happiness?
Parents often ask me that temprament of both their children is different from each other. One may be somber and the other one sunny. Is it fair, to access that , children’s temperaments nature, attitude etc. comes in part from their genes. While this holds true the other end of this corollary is – our genes are malleable and can be switched on or off depending on the environment. Various researches done on this subject clearly show that happy, optimistic children are the product of happy, optimistic homes; regardless of genetic makeup.
Then what can we as parents do to nurture and promote this environment for our children ? Lets look at these 3 points –
A connected childhood is the key to happiness !
The sure shot way to promote your child’s well being is to help him feel connected—not only to you but also with other family members, friends, neighbors, daycare providers, even to pets. A feeling of being loved, understood, wanted, acknowledged—is by far the biggest protector against emotional distress, suicidal thoughts, and risky behaviors including smoking, drinking, and using drugs for any teenager.
Its the quality of time that we make with our child. Being engaged with them, listening to them, singing , dancing, meeting family etc with them .. will help them feel heard and foster connects with their social environment. Social connections are an incredibly important, if not the most important, contributor to happiness.
It sounds ironical, but the best thing you can do for your child’s long-term happiness may be to stop trying to keep her happy in the short-term. “If we put our children on a pedestal and fulfill their every wish and desire, at a drop of a hat – that is what they grow to expect, but the real world doesn’t work that way,” says Sushant Kalra, founder of Parwarish.
To keep from overcoddling, recognize that you are not responsible for your child’s happiness. Parents who feel responsible for their kids’ emotions have great difficulty allowing them to experience anger, sadness, or frustration. We swoop in immediately to give them whatever we think will bring a smile or to solve whatever is causing them distress. Unfortunately, children who never learn to deal with negative emotions are in danger of being crushed by them as adolescents and adults.
Once you accept that you can’t make your child feel happiness (or any other emotion for that matter), you’ll be less inclined to try to “fix” her feelings—and more likely to step back and allow her to develop the coping skills and resilience she’ll need to bounce back from life’s inevitable setbacks.
Nurture Your Happiness
While we can’t control our children’s happiness, we are responsible for our own. And because children absorb everything from us, our moods matter. One of the best things you can do for your child’s emotional well-being is to attend to yours: carve out time for rest, relaxation, and, perhaps most important, romance. Nurture your relationship with your spouse. If parents have a really good, committed relationship, the child’s happiness often naturally follows.