When you ask any set of parents what do they desire for their kids, the common reply is “happiness.” We all want our kids to be happy.
Now there are lots of resources telling you how to raise smart kids and successful kids, but no one tells you how to raise “happy, joyful” kids! That’s where Naren’s insights, elucidated beautifully in the video “Happy by myself” comes in. He also lists tips on helping kids be happy on their own in his book, Essentials of Parenting.
We mollycoddle our kids too much. Parents make it seem like it is their responsibility to ensure the happiness of their kids. When kids grow up, they do not know how to be happy without the endorsement of others. They are emotionally vulnerable, and base their happiness on external circumstances and on the people around. While those things do impact a person’s happiness, largely happiness is an intrinsic thing. We need to teach this to our kids right away!
Here’s how to do that
Step 1: Get Happy Yourself
Imagine how you want your kids to be. Now be that person yourself! Yes, that’s the first step to happier kids, to be happy yourself. How happy you are affects how happy and successful your kids are — dramatically.
Research says that parents’ emotional and psychological health plays a huge role in how kids feel and behave. So you being joyful and happy directly ensures that your kids leran from you. After all, they emulate you.
So what’s the first step to being a happier you?
- Take some time each week to have fun with friends, family, or people you connect with. Make it happen, no matter what.
Do little things that bring you joy. Art, a hobby, a new skill that you could learn, anything. Fill your cup of joy so that you have enough to give.
- Learn new ways to deal with stress and wear a smile no matter what you are dealing with. You are setting a huge example here.
Step 2: Teach Them To Build Relationships
Teaching kids how to spend time building relationships is so very important. It’s not about sitting them down to explain how to connect with people. But it is more about teaching kids to be kind, loving, empathetic. These traits can go a long way in helping them build people connect. This not only builds essential skills and makes your kids better people, research shows over the long haul it makes them happier.
Step 3: We need to appreciate efforts and not perfection
Note to perfectionist parents: cool off. It is okay if your kids don’t get straight as or are ace artists, sportsmen and what not. It is more important that our kids work hard, put in their best and be happy. Relentlessly banging the achievement drum messes kids up.
We need to encourage the growth mindset in our kids and not the “Success only” mindset.
Step 4: Teach Optimism
Want to avoid dealing with a surly teenager? Then teach those pre-teens to look on the bright side. Optimism and happiness are very closely linked. We need to teach kids an “I can” attitude and the ability to be unfazed, no matter what. That adds to the general joy.
Step 5: Teach them to be alone and not lonely
Teach your kids to take up little things to do on their own, like reading a book, playing by themselves, baking, art whatever that helps them enjoy some alone time. They need to be comfortable in their skin. Once this happens, no one can steal their joy once they grow up.
If they are getting bored, let them get bored. Don’t give them plans, solutions and To-do lists. Let them use their imagination and creativity to come up with ideas and engage themselves.
A simple first step here is to “Empathize, Label and Validate” when they’re struggling with anger or frustration.
Step 6: Be a family that laughs
Whether you are a single parent or whether you live in a joint family, the vibe of your home, defines your child’s personality. If you all tend to get stressed and worked up, how will your little one be joyous. Be a laughing family. A happy, fun one where you joke about the problems but solve them anyway. Help your kids see the lighter side of everything. The silver lining on the dark cloud. That will teach them to be happy people and spread the joy.
Step 7: Let them be kids
We need to let kids be! We should not take pride in 5 year olds talking like 15 year olds. That’s a cause of concern. We should take pride in kids acting their age. Let them play, sweat it out, get hurt, break a leg, have fun. We don’t need them all to be young scientists. That will organically make them happy.
Step 8: Eat Dinner Together
The together time of sharing a meal brings oodles of joy in a family, even if it is a small two member team. If you can’t do it every day, make it a once-a-week ritual. Remember how we always ate with our folks? Our kids need that too, to appreciate the little joys of life.
Step 9: Let them be unhappy sometimes as well. They can’t be fake happy. Experiencing all emotions and being okay with it is important.
Using all these tips, you will bring up emotionally strong, joyful kids. Here’s to happiness!
How do you like these tips? Do you connect with them? Write to us and tell us how all this works for you.