Parents envision a lot of things for their children, but the number one concern amongst most is their child is happy. It’s only natural to want your child to be happy now and later in life, but how can any parent ensure that’s the case? Well, scientists have a few tips to help parents raise happy kids.
Be Happy First
You’ve probably heard the phrase, “you can’t love someone else until you love yourself first,” but did you know the same is true for raising happy kids? Research shows that depressed parents have severely negative consequences on their children, causing them to act out and display a series of behavioral problems.
It’s not a genetic issue. Instead, it’s more of a monkey-see-monkey-do mentality. Your child replicates your behavior. So, seeing you happy means they’re more likely to be happy as well. Smiling, laughter, and healthy social relationships are all contagious and proven to lighten moods.
So, work on making yourself a happy person first. This can be challenging in split-parenting situations. To keep both parents happier, it helps to speak with a board certified family law specialist. They can work out the complex situation of divorce as well as its aftermath, helping both parents focus on child-rearing instead of fighting.
Don’t Look for Perfection
Perfectionist and helicopter parents are working against themselves when raising happy kids. This parenting style leads to depression, anxiety, and substance abuse later in life. Don’t overemphasize achievement. Instead, look to the effort your child is putting into their tasks and actions.
Praise for effort is proven to make children more likely to attempt challenges, while praise for hard work leads to a higher rate of achievement. Instead of focusing on how smart they are or pleasing you with perfection, kids learn that trying their best is all they need for your approval.
Teach Relationship Building Techniques
Making playdates for your child is vital, but there’s more to relationship building than two kids in a room with toys. You have to help them build empathy for others by encouraging them to perform small acts of kindness, like sharing a snack or helping clean up toys.
Teaching them to build positive relationships and why negative actions are not okay helps to improve their self-esteem, self-confidence, and combat depression. As your child ages, their future positive relationships will help them create a network of support that will continue to help make them a happier individual.
For split families, this aspect is vital. Separated couples that show an example of bickering or an inability to maintain a healthy relationship in front of their child are only doing damage. Working with a child support lawyer to stop those arguments, for instance, is an excellent way to show your child that disagreements can be worked through in a healthy way.
Spend Quality Time
Eating dinner together has slowly become a thing of the past in most families, but science shows that this simple action creates emotional stability. Children are less likely to turn to drugs, get better grades, and have fewer depressive symptoms when they eat dinner with their family. It also helps thwart the development of eating disorders. It’s even better than reading to your kids.