*This is a collaborative guest post
Most parents want the same things for their children. Parents want to see their little ones grow up to be young people and then adults who are successful, who follow their dreams, and above all, who are happy and loved by those around them. But, how much control does a parent actually have over their child’s happiness? The way you behave around your child and how you treat them has a significant impact on their wellbeing both in childhood and as an adult. Here are some top tips on how to raise a happy child.
Encourage Close Connections
Children need to feel close to their people in their lives in order to be confident, secure, and happy. According to renowned child psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, M.D., a connected childhood is the key to happiness throughout life. Spending time with your child and really getting to know them allows you to build a close, connected relationship with them that will hopefully last a lifetime. And, knowing that you love them unconditionally and will always be there for them is certainly going to make your child happy in life.
Nurture Your Own Happiness
A happy child will most often have a parent who is also happy and content with their life. If you are unhappy with your life, giving in to stress and depression, feeling hopeless or complaining about things in front of your child, they will learn this behaviour and it will have a profound effect on them and their own emotional well-being. Parenting can be difficult for many, especially parents with financial or health issues, which is why looking after yourself as a parent should also be a top priority. If you’re really feeling down, seeing a therapist can help you learn to love yourself again and provide a happier environment for both you and your child.
Most children will jump at any chance to do something that is ‘grown-up’, therefore the younger years are an awesome time to start teaching your child some responsibilities. And, having more responsibilities can do wonders for your child’s happiness and self-esteem, especially when you praise them for doing something amazing like helping you to cook a tasty dinner or even getting a Saturday job as a teenager. Teaching your child real-life responsibilities from a young age will help them mature into self-reliant, confident and independent young adults.
Finally, studies have shown that practicing habitual gratitude is linked to better emotional well-being and happiness. As a family, practicing gratitude together is a wonderful way to improve your family bond and help to build each other up. As a parent, it’s important to make sure that you never take your children for granted, and thank them for even the smallest things that they do for you like drawing you a picture. Taking time together, for example during a family meal, to all mention what you’re thankful for today can be a lovely daily activity to improve everyone’s happiness.
Share your top tips for raising happy children in the comments below!