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How To Raise Happy Children

Parents having good time with their children

Parenting is often frustrating and contradictory: we want the best for our children but sometimes we have no choice but to set limits and forbid or reprimand, at the risk of coming across as bullies in their eyes!

But basically, the only thing that matters to you is to make our children happy and good about themselves. And this inevitably requires an appropriate and balanced education!

All the parents in the world want only one thing: that their children be happy, fulfilled, serene. And if certain elements related to education and the environment came to facilitate the happiness of children?

Under the same roof, two children raised by the same parents, in the same environment, with identical values, opportunities and limits, will neither have the same journey nor the same life.

When it comes to raising children, there is no magic recipe. And no instructions… unfortunately. Each human being arrives with his temperament, his genetic background, his sensitivity, his affective and cognitive abilities,

You have to teach your child to deal with frustrations and disappointments, because life is not a long quiet road!

How do we transmit resilience, serenity and this ability to see the bright side of things? Can happiness be taught? 

This is what I think. We must first reflect on our own conception of happiness. 

The children’s happiness will not be much different from ours. You have to ask yourself: what is happiness for me, for us, for our family?

The famous bond of attachment

First key element that unites all childhood specialists: the bond of attachment. 

In 1969, the English psychiatrist John Bowlby was the first to speak of the importance of this unique, strong and benevolent bond between a parent and his child. 

It is this relationship, which is woven little by little, which will nurture, in the child, his self-confidence and his confidence in others. 

The attachment relationship can be with any significant person who provides care

She’s needs to be unconditional, no matter how well she performs or how she looks. It is present for what the child is, and not for what he does.

In this regard, one of the possible drifts is to do too much: the parent becomes the number one fan of his child, encouraging him, congratulating him and showering him with praise with each (tiny) achievement.

Yes, we want to boost our child’s self-esteem, but it’s not by telling him “You’re the best!” every day that will make him succeed. On the contrary! The child risks being demolished when he is outside the family bubble.

The best thing is to help him know himself in all his strengths, his preferences and his challenges, so that he asserts himself in his choices. 

By presenting him with a realistic vision of things – of a situation, for example – we help the child to find solutions and to become resilient. 

We can reveal our own vulnerability to our child to show him that there is no perfect day, nor perfect parent.

So how do you raise happy children?

1) The importance of feeling loved

Happiness and a sense of security would be essential factors for the good development of the child.

A rather surprising study has shown that young children particularly pampered by their mother have the hippocampus (part of the brain which is the seat of learning and memory) 10% larger than others when they enter the ‘school.

Parents having good time with their children
Parents having good time with their children

2) The love of the father would count more than that of the mother

A second study also looking at emotional feelings would have underlined that the love of a father would be more important for the well-being and health of the child than that of the mother. The dads who would best fulfill their role would be those:

who listen;

Who offer their time;

Who enforce the rules;

Who know how to reward when appropriate.

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3) Your happiness rubs off on them

A mother who feels good about herself and is satisfied with her life would influence her child much more socially and emotionally than other factors such as her level of education, her income or whether she has a job or not.

4) Adopt an optimistic attitude

Children who learned to be optimistic around the age of 10-12 would have a 50% greater chance of not suffering from depression in adulthood. Also, a 5-year-old would feel better about themselves if they see their parents reacting positively when faced with a problem.

Parents having good time with their children
Parents having good time with their children

5) Value effort over intelligence

Encouraging your child for his intellectual abilities rather than for his efforts would make him more vulnerable to the feeling of failure.

6) Adapt your behavior to your child’s personality

Just because your first child was brought up a certain way doesn’t mean you have to repeat the same pattern with the next one.

Several studies have shown that a parent who adapts his behavior to the personality of his child would reduce by half the chances that he will become depressed and anxious.

7) Stay united through divorce

Contrary to popular belief, a large majority of children (80%) dealing with separation from their parents will not develop psychological problems as they grow up. The important thing would be to keep good relations and to invest jointly in the education of his children despite the divorce.

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8) Avoid aggressive behavior

Children raised by parents with hostile behavior during arguments are more likely to develop violent behavior, including:

Reaping poor school grades;

To resort to the use of drugs and alcohol;

To be less empathetic

9) Encourage him to do good deeds

Even at age 8, a child will feel happier if they feel that their life has meaning. This feeling will be reinforced by activities such as:

An act of generosity towards a fellow student;

Commitment to “noble” causes;

Organizing a family event;

The practice of a collective sport.

10) Promote the practice of a sport

Children engaged in regular physical activity feel happier and generally perform better than those who do not. On the other hand, the more a child watches TV, the more he is prone to depression. Read about it in our article on sport and the benefits of physical activity on children’s well-being.

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