"I thought my son was happy because he smiled.
I believed my daughter was content since
she never complained.
I told myself my children had no issues
as it let me pass the nights peacefully.
My son lives in the basement, my daughter
married badly and I toss and turn in my sleep.
Tomorrow I tear off the blindfold, let light
shine in and begin my transformation."
Chapdelaine Dillingsworth - 1973
You want the best for your child. If you could snap your fingers and guarantee that he or she would only know happiness and joy it would be wonderful. Unfortunately life doesn't work that way.
Looking to raise a happy child? Make it happen! Not via the magical flicking together of two fingers but by actively heightening your awareness and taking action as needed.
Parent, Grandparent, Aunt, Uncle or someone in-between, you can make a huge impact on the life of your loved ones. The best part is--it's never too late!
Join me in our quest of raising a happier child as we continue the trek we began on September 6th.
Such a small word for arguably the single most important ingredient needed to create a healthy home environment--the breeding ground of the happy child.
It all begins with self-awareness. How conscious are you of the impact this hectic world makes on a daily basis? Do you stop at intervals and live in the moment mindfully savoring the positive yet cognizant of the meteorites that intrude and concuss your psyche?
What's working best in your life? What needs adjusting?
Before you can be there for your child -- be present for yourself! Once you've accomplished this (an on-going, organic process) you'll gain the ability to be more aware of what's actually happening in your kid's life.
A child like an adult will never completely comprehend all the forces that contribute to their emotions.
Communicating with intention you'll become a "tuned-in" parent helping your youngster gain insight and coping skills, bringing solace, a sense of empowerment and resulting in enhanced happiness.
Bottom Line #1:
Become self-aware then actively engage your child helping them as they gain a keener understanding of their emotions and individual worth. Encourage them to discover what makes them tick while learning to embrace their individuality.Watch as stress diminishes and confidence grows.
The by-product of this is a natural involvement in their life and a greater sensitivity to subtle changes allowing you to be "on the spot" with parental guidance and strength.
If you'd like a Mind Acrobatics exercise entitled "What Makes Me Tick" please email me and put the word "happiness" in the subject line; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Take Immediate Action
"I don't know how the time flew by so fast." Heard that before? In the blink of an eye your Kindergarten child will be a High School graduate. Think I'm kidding -- just ask your parent, grandparent or a trusted sage.
Once you've become more self-aware and cognizant of much (you'll never know all) of what goes on in your child's life leap into action.
You might ask how? Lots of ways. Demonstration of your love and caring manifests in many forms. The most obvious is being demonstrative. Show your emotions. Smile a lot and hug your child--everyday.
A child that feels strongly loved can weather the rockiest of situations. But you don't need me to tell you that!
- Put aside a weekly time to share in a fun activity. If your child's older enjoy a yoga or spin class together.
- Most all kids regardless of age love going to a ball game as a spectator--nothing beats a hot dog, soda, ice cream and day at the ball park for a bit of bonding.
- Go bike riding -- don't have one? Rent!
- Museums sometimes elicit groans -- but with a little exploration you might just find some very interesting ones. I love the Museum of Television and Radio in NYC. Have time for a weekend -- try the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
- Movies are a relaxing stress free way to enjoy each others company -- great for adolescents. No need for a lot of talk -- just sit back and enjoy the show. Don't forget the buttered popcorn and cheese nachos!
- Everyone can volunteer! What a great, rewarding and socially redeeming way to spend time together!
- Use your creativity. Have everyone put ideas in a hat and take turns picking one activity each week.
There are more critical areas where you might be hesitant to take action. Let's examine just one, school. .
Cultural differences and upbringing dictate the nature of parental involvement. For instance, some readers may believe the school is sacrosanct. You might rarely question educational decisions made by administrators or teachers.
I realize many HP readers might find this unusual, but it's much more common than you think. It's similar to the disinclination to query a physician. Lots of people don't -- and they should!
You have the responsibility to make sure your child's school is a "safe haven" and provides for their learning style. This doesn't mean second guessing a teacher on every decision. In fact it can be very helpful when you show your support openly -- but not blindly!
If something doesn't seem educationally sound question it, particularly at the elementary level. Do this without making your child aware if possible. Usually you can get the challenge resolved. If it isn't and your child is old enough to understand then let them know you are addressing the situation.
Examples might be if your child has special learning needs that are going unaddressed or is gifted, bored and tuning out.
One of the most overlooked of all -- a quiet and well-behaved child -- consequently inadvertently ignored by their teacher. These children often have a need for attention.
Make a surprise school visit. Be sure to check-in with the principal's office.
Become known as a non overbearing but involved parent.
You'd certainly take action if your child was being bullied, so why not in other areas of their education. Nothing feels better to a beleaguered little child than seeing their parent at school. It's a reassuring demonstration of your love and concern.
At the secondary level you're better off conferring with your child before taking action. Despite protestations to the contrary--most often even your older child is happy for your concern and advised involvement.
Mom's are more often directly involved with the school, but it's great when Dad's make the effort! It truly is and should be a family affair.
Bottom Line # 2:
Take action. Once you know what's going on in your child's life don't let the opportunity to help slip away. Time passes quickly and so too the chance to take the necessary steps that will contribute significantly to your youngsters sense of well-being.
Why not create a special time of the week that you call "tell me what you want -- what you really, really want!" You can share with each other just what's on your mind and enjoy a happier, healthier more informed relationship.
Of course if your child is seven or older you might have to use texting to hold the conversation, even if you're in the same room.
The secret to raising a happy child isn't one-dimensional. It's multi-faceted and different for each individual. We're all unique and so are our needs.
The key is your desire, involvement and resolve to ensure that your youngster will have the happiest childhood that you are capable of providing.
Contact Dave Kanegis at: email@example.com