Why it’s Okay Not to Try to Make Your Child Happy

Every parent wants to raise happy and successful kids. It is considered the holy grail of parenting success. We want them to grow up to love and be loved, to follow their dreams, to find success, and of course, to be happy. But too often, we tend to confuse happiness with gratification and pleasure. 

Giving our kids happy, healthy childhoods could set them up for success. But we often wonder, how exactly do you raise happy kids in the modern world? Sometimes, we confuse raising happy kids by giving them immediate gratification or momentary pleasure. That’s the exact opposite of what we want.

Trying to make your kids happy is not only unrealistic, but it can get in the way of the development of resilience and emotional intelligence. It also makes parenting in the day-to-day extremely hard. Trying to make your kids happy can also make you feel like a bad parent when you’ve attached your self-worth to an impossible ideal!

Happy kids should have a skill set that allows them to enjoy long-term happiness. They’re able to pass up instant gratification to reach their goals. So, how can we help kids live happy lives?

There are many ways in which we can raise our kids happy. We can start by limiting screen time (Click here to read activities to reduce screen time) and encouraging outdoor play. Give your kids some time to run on the grass, climb some trees, sit on the swing and dig in the dirt. Do not underestimate the power of outdoor play; it’s suitable for your kids and improves their social skills. 

You can also incorporate gratitude into your daily lives. Make it a family habit to talk about what you feel grateful for. Identify a couple of things you’re thankful for at the dinner table, or talk about what you’re thankful for at bedtime. This will help your child learn to look for things they can be grateful for in their everyday life. 

Eating together as a family might be one of the best things you can do if you want to raise happy kids. Family meals may also promote good health. Kids who eat with their parents are less likely to be overweight or have eating disorders. Don’t worry if you can’t get together for a family meal every night; a few nights a week would be beneficial.

Buying your child lots of gifts on holidays and birthdays or giving them everything he wants won’t make him happy. Overindulging kids may take a toll on their psychological well-being. Resist the urge to get your kids everything they want and allow them to earn privileges. They’ll appreciate things much more when they work hard to get something.

To have happy kids, you must also teach them to tolerate being unhappy. Teach your kids to work through their big emotions: feelings like anger, frustration, and even disappointment – rather than trying to protect them from them. When you became a parent, you also signed up to be an emotion coach, the personal trainer of your kid’s feelings. 

Parents should also become happier and less stressed to raise their kids happy. Emotions are contagious, and if you’re miserable and stressed, your children will catch those feelings like a cold. 

Keep in mind that kids do not need to be happy. They also need to experience uncomfortable emotions, too. There’s no need to cheer your kids up or take action when experiencing uncomfortable emotions. Instead, coach them through it and help them find ways to soothe themselves and cope with their feelings.

Remember that it’s not a reflection of your parenting if they aren’t happy every minute of the day. Your job is not to become responsible for your children’s happiness; it is to give your children the skills they need to manage their emotions healthily.

Lastly, the best thing you can do to raise happy kids is giving them a loving environment. When kids are loved and cared about, they are more likely to thrive, even when facing challenging life circumstances.