What Makes a Happy Kid?
“You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” – Desmond Tutu
All good parents have one thing in common: they want the best for their kids, they all want happy kids.
Over the years, I have heard countless parents say that their main concern is repeating their own parents’ mistakes. One mom told me, “I know exactly what mistakes I don’t want to make,” Then she added more nervously, “I’m more worried about what to do, not what not to do!”
I challenge you to focus on what to do, and focus less on your fear of making mistakes.
Happy kids take many forms. Simply put, “happy kids” can be defined by twelve important factors.
Happy kids are those who:
- Understand what you, and other adults, expect from them. This understanding occurs when people in their environment, i.e., parents, take time to explain their expectations in a positive, clear, and concise manner.
- Are honored; they feel heard, respected, and validated.
- Understand what to expect from their parents and the environment. They know, for the most part, what the rules are because someone (the parent) defines clear boundaries, rules, and expectations every day. Even if kids are testing those rules, they still know what they are.
- Can expect, to a great extent, some routine and structure from their environment. Structure and some predictability create a sense of security in kids. This is very important for healthy growth.
- Have parents who tell and show them they’re loved unconditionally.
- Are allowed to make some mistakes, in a supportive environment. When a child’s behavior is criticized, it’s not the same as if his or her character is being judged.
- Have parents who motivate them to make good choices.
- Understand the difference between privileges and rights. Children need to understand that their rights are always respected and privileges are always earned.
- Are noticed and rewarded for making good decisions. Children feel validated when they make good choices. Kids, their good decisions, and desirable behaviors are rewarded by their parents.
- Are learning how to cope, thrive and face challenges (in an age-appropriate way).
- Are learning to face the natural consequences for each choice they make (whether it’s a good or poor choice). As a result, children strive to make improvements and try their best because more than anything, they remain hopeful.
- Are learning how to negotiate and assert themselves while respecting others.
This is an excerpt from my book: “Create Happy Kids”
Dr. Sherkat is a parent strategist who is available to do Parent Education Workshops, either Private or PTA Sponsored Classes.
Contact her at 425-772-6698.