What do parents of happy children have in common?

Do you wish to raise a happy child?

While there is no set formula for such success, there are characteristics and behaviors of parents that we can look to as indicators of what works for a child.

1. Parents of happy children have high expectations of them.

Children with parents that have high expectations of them do much better than those children without such expectations and can be better described as happy.

Such expectations are usually both academic and behavioral in nature as such parents seek to develop a happy child balanced with both assets.

Bottom line: In the case of happy children, they live up to their parents’ expectations until the time when they begin to set their own.

2. Parents that view their family as a strong unit with each person playing a role are more likely to raise happy children.

Parents that insist on family chores for all the children and adults in the home raise happy children that, over time, come to make the link between work and success.

Bottom line: Happy children understand that it is a team effort, and they come to appreciate the roe each person plays in creating a happy family.

3. Successful parents of happy children understand the balance between their child’s academic and social success.

“All I have learned, I learned in Kindergarten.”  

Early childhood education must be focussed around play.  When young children learn to cooperate, to empathize, and to collaborate with their peers, they are establishing the social-emotional skills they will need in their future workplace and relationships.

Bottom line: parents that nurture the emotional and social lives of their children are setting them up for a happy childhood and success as adults.

4. Happy children come from happy homes.

happy-family-3Parental conflict hurts children.

A home environment that is negative, with constant physical and verbal conflict, does not create a happy child.

Happy children need structure and stability. They need to know that they will always be physically and emotionally safe in their homes and that their parents will treat each member of the family with love and respect.

Children in a pre-separation, hostile home are often emotionally frayed, especially when they are used as pawns in some way by one or both of them.

In such a family set up, it is often impossible for the children to be happy.

After a separation and divorce, when there may be reduced conflict, children do better and can be happier.  

To ensure these children continue to be happy, it is incumbent on both parents to maintain an environment of respectful communication.

Bottom line: unhappy parents must do all they can to ensure happy families.

5. Parents that spend time with their children develop happy kids.

Parents and children are both busy today.  

However, those parents that make the extra effort to spend time with their children have a much better chance to raise happy children than those that do not.  

Moreover, parents that consistently work to pick up on their children’s emotional signals, and nurture these will, over time, build in them a strong foundation of confidence, growth, and happiness.

Bottom line: Children need their parents to be emotionally present to build their positive emotional strengths and emerge as a happy child.

6. Happy children are less stressed.

Smart, empathetic children will pick up on the moods of other family members, especially their parents.  When mothers are stressed, for example, their children can often mirror that emotion.

Bottom line: Self-confident parents,that are generally emotionally stable, will pass this happiness to their children simply by the mood, and the environment they create.

success-27. Parents that want happy children keep success in perspective.

Authoritarian parents use shame and blame in their attempt to create their child’s success.

Permissive parents use bribery and rewards in their attempt to do the same.

For neglectful parents, their child’s success is a low priority

Authoritative parents seek to build their child’s sense of purpose with high expectations.

However, they are, also, able to keep success and failure in perspective. And, they value a happy child over a successful one.

Bottom line: happy children are raised by parents who understand that happiness and success go together, and that you can’t have one without the other.

8. A high family socioeconomic status does not necessarily guarantee a happy child.

There is evidence that successful children are more likely to come from families of a higher socio-economic background.  

However, such success does not guarantee a happy child.

Moreover, despite the achievement gap that may exist between those with wealth and those without, a happy child may be just as likely to emerge from a poorer family than one with more resources.

Bottom line: wealth is an advantage in building the success of a child; however, it does not guarantee a happy child.

9. Happy children are taught how to deal with adversity

Being a happy child does not mean that a child cannot have periods of unhappiness.

All children will face times of difficulty, and they should to build character.

However, successful parents will teach their children how to pick themselves up from difficulty and failure, and how to use it to emerge a stronger and happier child.

Successful parents do not seek to hide their child from struggles; the successful parent seeks to help them understand how to learn from it.

In doing so, they will long term, ensure a happy child.

Bottom Line:  facing struggle is part of life; children cannot be happy all the time, and we should not seek to try to ensure such a state.

10. Unconditional love, mixed with healthy expectations–the authoritative style of parenting–will most likely produce a happy child that will grow to become a healthy adult.

Bottom line: parental love, measured out in large dollops, will likely secure a child’s long -term happiness much more than any other factor.

11. Happy children are allowed to express their emotions.

Kids yell! KIds cry!  KIds get angry-just like their parents.  The good parent is accepting of these behaviors, while ensuring that there is a structure around them and a process to ensure they do not get out of hand.

Bottom Line:  accepting your child’s negative emotions will allow him to, also, develop his positive behaviors, and to grow into a happy child.

12. Children are heard and get to make choices.

listenChildren have limited control over their lives. However,  having some control goes a long way towards creating a happy child.  Some of these may be very minor decisions; others may be of more consequence.

However, to create a happy child, the parent must allow her voice to be heard and provide her the opportunity to make some decisions of her own.

Bottom line: parents will develop a happy child by involving them, as is appropriate, in their own lives and decision-making.

Not all children are happy.  Life’s circumstances, unfortunately, mean that some children do not get that opportunity.

However, all things considered, a parent or parents, and their ideas and practices are central to providing a child with the best chance for happiness.

At Confident Parenting, we can help parents to achieve their goal of raising a happy child.  Please contact us for a conversation.