Raising a child is one of the most challenging tasks in life. The parenting path is full of crossroads that may have parents feeling they must choose between the success or the happiness of their child.
Our society is very competitive. Anyone who has children may occasionally compare their children to others or somehow encourage their child to be better than another. All parents desire the best for their children, and many would like their children to be perfect. They do whatever it takes to involve their kids in multiple after-school activities and to make them successful without consideration for their happiness. What is worse, is that parents truly believe they are doing it for the good of their children.
Success Versus Happiness – Which is More Important?
John Lennon once said, “When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
Happiness is perhaps the most abstract concept that mankind can face. It’s an inner process that differs from person to person. Many parents are wrong thinking that happiness equals success. A child driven only and exclusively towards perfection and success will be a grown-up with a fear of failure. Such fear has little to do with happiness. A parent who always expects the best from their child may be cultivating a sense of never being good enough, of never having done enough. By focusing only on success, a parent may inadvertently reduce their child’s self-esteem or cause their child’s happiness to depend primarily on the acceptance of others.
According to the American Psychological Association, adolescent depression is increasing at an alarming rate. In many cases, depression is caused by a lack of self-esteem created by over-demanding parents who are obsessed by their child’s success. It is more important for a child to be happy than to be first among their class.
Things Every Parent Should Know to Raise a Happy Child
It is common for adults to not fully understand the needs of a child. The happiness of your children may be the key to their future success. Here are some guidelines to remember:
- The child who gets the best grades is almost never the happiest kid, because happiness is not measured in these values.
- Children don’t need many toys. More important is a simple, worry-free life and more time spent with their parents.
- Children should be free to explore everything and decide for themselves what they like and what makes them happy.
- Children observe our behavior as well as our attitudes, and inevitably mirror them in their own lives; don’t raise your children, raise yourself.
- Realize that grades do not always reflect reality, and that a high grade does not always correspond to happiness.
- Parents must motivate their children to pursue their own hopes and dreams.
- Allow your children the freedom to explore the world with their own eyes and senses and the freedom to express their emotions and feelings.
With the above tips in mind, parents will be better able to lay the foundation for the future success of their children.
Six Signs Your Child is Truly Happy
Happy children are aware and confident of the following:
- that they are loved unconditionally by their parents, no matter how many mistakes they make
- that they are safe and protected by their parents and that their parents will be on their side to support them regardless of what happens
- that they can act funny and spend time dreaming and playing with their friends
- that they can choose whatever they like and devote themselves to this hobby, no matter what it is
- that they are special and wonderful, just like many other people in the world
- that they deserve respect and that they must respect others
Do not forget that children are not a project to be crowned with success. Rather, they are individuals with their own dreams, desires and hopes. When parents’ sole pursuit for their children is success, these children may grow up to be successful adults, but may never truly feel happy or fully enjoy their own life.
According to Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “All grown-ups were once children, but only a few of them remember it”. It is in your power to make sure that your children enjoy a happy childhood and carry that happiness into their adult lives.