by Sharon Harlan at interior design degrees.
Happiness is an illusion for some and elusive to others, but for families who get their recipes right, happiness is an all-pervasive emotion that follows them wherever they go and whatever they do. So what exactly is the secret to their happiness? There are many, but they all start with good parenting, and if you’re looking for help in the parenting department and hoping to infuse happiness into your family, here’s what you need:
- Parents who love each other – Everyone has fights, but parents who minimize the fights in front of their kids and who genuinely love each other no matter what have the happiest kids.
- Parents who accept blame and responsibility – Kids are very perceptive, and if they find that one parent always lays the blame while the other has to accept it wordlessly, they’re bound to become bullies as well, like the more dominant parent. But when both parents accept fault where it is to be found, the kids learn to accept responsibility for their actions.
- Parents who laugh together – Nothing can beat the power of laughter; it makes even the darkest demons of despair vanish into thin air. Spend time with each other, laughing and having fun, and see how your smiles become contagious and latch on to your kids’ faces.
- Parents who share household work – Every family’s situation is different, so while dad may do much more in one home, he may be forced to do less in others because of work constraints. The best homes however are those that don’t have gender-defined roles and mom or dad does whatever work has to be done, be it professional tasks outside the home or domestic chores inside.
- Parents who don’t push their kids – Sure you want your kids to be the best, but that doesn’t mean you have to bully them and coerce them into tasks or activities that they have no inclination towards. Encourage your children to excel, but set limits for yourself when it comes to interfering in their lives, especially as they get older.
- Parents who spend time with their children – Television and computer games (or surfing the net) may take up most of your teenagers’ time and they may not want to hang out with you, but your younger ones are desperate for your attention and time. You may have spent an hour on homework with them, but they would sure appreciate 30 minutes of goofing around with you soon after.
- Parents who are their kids’ friends – As your child grows older, they’re going to need you to become their friends as well as continue to be your parents. You must know how to morph into their friend when they need someone to talk to – this can only be done if you encourage them to be open with you about their lives and you don’t judge them or say I told you so or take them to task for their lifestyle. However, it’s in their best interests that you guide them in the right path as much as possible.
- Parents who know their children’s friends – The people we interact with on a daily basis determine to a large extent the kind of person we are and become. Friends are a significant aspect of any child’s life, and parents with happy children must know who their friends are, and if they don’t have any for some reason or the other.
- Parents who know how and when to let go – The best parents know that as their child grows older, they need to start letting them go; only when they cut the apron strings is it possible to know if their child is capable of standing on his own two feet and becoming a strong and responsible adult. The key is to know how and when to let go, how and when to stop interfering in and micro-managing your child’s life.
- Parents who teach their children good habits – The best way to teach your child good habits is through practice; happy families eat healthy and wholesome meals and ensure that they get their daily dose of exercise. They value their health and they know that disease and illness detract from the overall wellbeing of a household.
Every parent must strive to be the best they can, even as they remember that parenting is an acquired skill, one you become more adept at as the years go by and you learn from your mistakes and successes.