Raising a happy child is the one thing that every parent wishes to achieve.
Before we can do that we need to take a really good look at our parenting styles and ourselves as a guide of where to start.
Is your child a happy child?
We need to be able to understand what a happy child actually is.
Is a happy child one that is happy because you just bought them the latest high tech toy available on the market?
I think not.
A happy child is one that is content and feels fulfilled in some way. It’s not remotely to do with possessions.
The question on every parent’s lips is how do you raise a happy child?
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What makes a happy child?
First of all, let’s just start by saying that you can’t force your child into happiness.
Happiness is a lifestyle choice. I say choice because you do have to “choose” to be happy.
It would be very easy to be sad throughout most of the day if we really wanted.
– Someone has just been rude to you.
– Your husband didn’t notice your new hairstyle
– No one liked the food you just cooked.
– Your friends went out for the evening and didn’t invite you.
This is just for the adults!
What about the children?
How do children learn to manage such emotions without breaking down?
I will say this, it begins with YOU and how they see you interact with life.
There are so many elements that can contribute to what it means to have a truly happy child.
Let’s have a look into some of these things below.
How to raise a happy child
1. Lead by example
Have you ever heard the expression, monkey see, monkey do? Well, there is a lot of truth in it.
If you are the type of parent who is forever miserable and seeing the glass as half empty, then what chance do you think your child will have?
If on the other hand you are always full of smiles and looking at things from a positive aspect then it won’t be long before your child mimics that same behavior.
You only need to walk down to the local park and you can almost straight away tell which child belongs to which parent.
2. Teach your child to be optimistic
I can’t stress how important this is to the mental wellbeing of your child.
As mentioned before there are just so many things that can get you down that you have no choice but to be optimistic about life.
Teach your child that even though their friend didn’t want to play with them today and decided to play with someone else that it’s not a reflection on them.
It doesn’t mean that they are any less of a friend. Sometimes children just want to try playing with someone else.
Let your child know that just because they got a bad grade in their spelling test this time, next time they can try harder and do better.
It’s never the end of the world when things don’t go according to plan.
It just gives you another opportunity to try again.
3. Give praises where praises are due
The world has gone mad with participation rewards!
There was no such thing when I was young and I still can’t really understand the point of a participation prize today.
I know some of you may not agree but I feel that if you always praise your child for participating and not giving any real effort then you are setting them up to fail later on in life.
Participating is not an achievement.
Trying your best at something even if you don’t quite make it is an achievement.
Working hard even when no one can see you is an achievement.
Just turning up is not an achievement in anything and this is definitely not how to raise a happy child.
Give your child lots of praise when they take part in the school relay race and come second.
Praise them when they learned to read 3 words that they have struggled with for the past 6 months.
This shows determination and credit is definitely due here.
Don’t praise a child for being naturally smart. Praise them when they break those boundaries even more.
If you praise your child for just being naturally clever then they won’t feel the need to excel any further.
Sounds harsh but it’s true.
4. Give your child room to make mistakes
I won’t lie to you this can be a hard one just because no one likes to see their child fall flat on their face especially when all you want is to have a happy child.
Unfortunately, this is the only healthy way to build up resilience in a child.
Let them make their mistakes and give them the opportunity to work out how and why it all went wrong.
Self-examination is a very healthy thing to do.
I find it extremely difficult to do this with my children. Watching them about to fail is no fun.
If we go to a party and one of my children decides to eat a whole lot of junk food even after I have prewarned them is their choice to make.
I know that sounds mean but if they do it knowing full well that it will make them feel sick afterward perhaps they need to experience it first to fully appreciate and understand what I am saying.
There is a time and place for mollycoddling and this isn’t it.
You can guide your child down the path you want them to take but you can’t force them even if you shout.
When I was little I was never given money to buy sweets.
As I got older I started making my own money and discovered the sweet shop.
Fast forward some years and I had taken several trips to the dentist because of the damage I had done to my teeth in such quick succession.
It was only after having experienced the dentist that I started taking the health of my teeth much more seriously.
I stopped drinking coke, cut back on sweets and started brushing my teeth more thoroughly at night time.
The kind of child that I was, even if my parents were telling me to stop beforehand I would never have really listened.
I didn’t understand the consequence.
It took the experience of visiting the dentist for me to get a grip.
I’m not saying for a moment that you should let your child have that same experience but within reason allow your child to make some mistakes.
Then give them time to think about what they have done and how it went wrong.
5. Encourage generosity
This is really important especially if you want to teach your child to not be selfish.
I know we all want to think of our children as being highly generous individuals but the truth of the matter is that not all children are naturally built that way.
It is up to us as parents to encourage generosity.
When you teach your child generosity you teach them to think outside of just themselves.
Have you noticed that most selfish people are never happy?
They never quite have enough of anything. They are never quite fulfilled enough until they get that next latest thing.
Don’t let your child join the selfish individual’s line.
Let them learn that there is happiness in giving to others.
6. Have a close relationship with your children
When you foster a close relationship with your child you are giving them a free pass to be a happy child.
In effect, you are being a counselor to them.
They can talk to you about their feelings, what makes them happy and what makes them sad.
Never let that door of communication close. You will be so thankful for it when your child becomes a teenager.
Start when they are very small just by listening. What may not be important to you is extremely important to your child.
That teddy bear that they just can’t find when you are in the middle of cooking dinner is really important to them.
Explain that you will help them find it but you have to cook dinner first.
Don’t just say no as that cuts the line of communication and understanding.
7. Don’t be afraid to discipline
Don’t for a minute think that by disciplining your child you are being mean to them.
You are disciplining them because you love them.
I remember a few years ago someone told me that if you don’t discipline your children now the prison system will do it for you.
Don’t let that be your child.
Discipline sets boundaries and everyone needs boundaries.
Think about how all over the place you would be without any boundaries? Now think about your child?
The world would just be in complete turmoil without boundaries and discipline.
8. Give responsibility
This might sound like a strange one but when you give someone a responsibility you give them something they can be proud of.
When you set your child age-appropriate chores, you give them a task of their own. Responsibility.
Yes, they might not like it at first but they will soon see that life is full of things that need to get done.
You can get it done with a bad attitude or you can get it done and finished.
With the right attitude, before you know it you will soon be promoted out of that position and on to something more fitting.
Sound like anything to you?
Yes, a job!
Think about how proud you feel when you get a promotion at work?
It’s the same with children. Let them strive for something.
Believe me, you can get yourself a very happy child just by giving them responsibility especially when that responsibility is something important to the whole family.
Let them do things besides just taking out the bins. Choose something where there is room for error.
This will make your child feel very special that you have trusted them with such a task.
Final thoughts on how to raise a happy child
The secret to raising a happy child is to implement the points above.
While there is no 100% guarantee that these tips will create you a happy child they will certainly set your child up on the right path to becoming a happy person.
Comment below if you have any more helpful tips to share. I would love to hear them.
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