We all want our children to be happy. So, what does this really mean? Your children do need to be happy. But, realistically they can’t be happy all the time. Think about it, are you happy all the time. We all have a range of feelings, which include: happiness, anger, sadness and loneliness at times.
If you want your child to be happy all the time, then you are sending them the wrong message. This will lead to disappointment in the long run, for the both of you. More and more, the world is becoming child centric. You really need to be careful with this one. Think back to when you were a child. Did you get everything you wanted? Were you happy all the time?
Here are 5 things to consider about your child’s happiness:
- Learn from you child. Children are great teachers. I have 2 wonderful nephews and one fabulous niece. I have learned so much from them. My nephew never meets a stranger. I have to admit I’m not usually the one talking to people in the grocery store. But, since he has come along this has changed. I am much more likely to talk to strangers at the grocery store, mall, etc. My point is, he has helped me see this differently, and I really like that. Listen to your child closely. They really are trying to tell you something, and you just might learn something new from it.
- Help them make lasting friendships. We all need friends. Your child will need your help with this one. This one can be easy for some children, and difficult for others. There are many unwritten rules with friendship. Let them know that the little things will make a big difference. When they are old enough talk about tone and body language. Let them know that friendships go through cycles. Try to keep them in the same school district, and in the same group of after school activities. That way they will see the same group of kids.
- You can’t buy happiness. It’s kind of like trying to buy your child’s love. It’s not really possible. What your child wants more than anything, is you. Spend time with your child. Play with your child, and listen to your child. This will teach them the importance of a relationship. They grow up fast, you don’t want to miss out.
- Enjoy being a parent. How often does your child see you being happy? It’s easy to complain when you have been a parent for a while. Parenting is full of changes, learn to ride with it. You don’t have to tell your child everything about your life. They may be too young to understand it, anywar. This is also known as parentifying. This can lead to your child feeling anxious. What’s most important is that your child knows that you love them, and being a parent is the best thing that ever happened to you.
- Let your child know happiness is a choice. When you wake up in the morning, you have a choice as to how you are going to spend your day. If you’d like you can sit around and sulk, or you can choose to have fun. They will learn this by not only listening to you, but by watching you. This means your words need to match your actions. How do you feel in the morning? Do you look forward to the new day, or do you dread getting up. If you don’t like your job, then why do you stay? You could choose to look for a new job, or look at things differently at work.
Honestly, I think happiness can be overrated. Don’t get me wrong, you should enjoy life with your family. But, this doesn’t mean you need to be happy all the time. The media associates happiness with a lot of money and material items. I have found some of the happiest people don’t really need much. Keep this in mind when you are raising a child.
Lianne Avila is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist, in San Mateo, CA. She enjoys working with children, and helping them accept and understand their feelings. For more information, please call or email (650) 892-0357 or [email protected].