The essence of parenting is preparing children for adulthood. Parents must therefore protect their kids, feed them, keep them healthy and teach them the skills they will need during their independent adult life. But which skills are those? What do we want our kids to achieve with the skills we teach them anyway?
Most parents, given enough time to ponder this question, agree that the answer is “Happiness”. When offered the choice from success, money, love, fame and other things people desire, parents overwhelmingly choose happiness.
The problem is that most of our daily parenting ends up being about other things, like academic success, winning competitions, behaving politely, earning money and so on. Children’s future happiness is only used as an assumption, as in “If you do well at school, you’ll have more options in life and be happier” or “If you learn how to keep a job and save money, you’ll be able to afford the things that will make you happy when you grow up” (excuse me while I catch my breath).
I believe that focusing directly on being happy changes what we choose to do for/to our kids, motivates them more and will ultimately make them (and us) happier. Rather than assuming that happiness will be the indirect result of doing homework every day, why not start with what makes (or will make) our kids happy and then tie that to things we can all do every day to accomplish that happiness?
Read more about how to raise happy kids…