5 Parenting Tips | Raising Happy Children
Today I am sharing 5 parenting tips for raising happy children!
I am a Mama to two beautiful children. For the most part, my children are happy.
I want your children to be happy, too!
My children, Jack (3) and Kaitlyn (6-months), have given me such an overwhelming sense of purpose in life. They are my miracle babies and without them, I am not sure I would have fought so hard in terms of pushing forward from my near-fatal accident, which occurred a little over five years ago now. I’ve seen really dark days, I have chosen a journey of healing and a positive mindset despite negative realities, I have oftentimes questioned myself and why it was that I was given a second chance at life, and I’ve thought some very selfish thoughts when it comes to my life and the pain that has threatened to take me down. My children have brought me back to a place of light and unwavering purpose. They are a distraction from my chronic pain and when my pain does get the best of me, they are my reason for smiling through it when I could very easily cry and just give up. It is true that every child is a gift from above.
Throughout my parenting journey, there have been many times when others have commented about how happy my children are. I regularly hear others comment on how my very active son is so independent and bright; and how my big, blue-eyed baby girl with the most magnetic smile rarely cries. So, how is it that I have happy children (most of the time) in a world of children who are exhibiting elevated levels of depression, anxiety, and plenty of other physical ailments secondary to stress?
Before I get into that, let me first share that I am not a perfect parent or for that matter even a perfect person. I’ve allowed myself to let go of my need for “perfectionism” since I first started my journey of healing five years ago. Okay, so it (perfectionism-seeking behavior) has tried to come back to bite me in the butt here and there, but I’ve gotten better in regards to stopping each bite before it leaves any sort of permanent mark on my life. I now think the idea of perfectionism is pretty silly, anyways. What is seen as “perfect” to one is likely “imperfect” to another. That, by the way, makes me laugh as I think of my Dad who used to always say, “If I want it done right, then I will do it myself.” *literally, laughing out loud right now* 😀
There is no one perfect way to be a good mother.
Each situation is unique.
Each mother has different challenges, different skills and abilities, and certainly different children…
What matters is that a mother loves her children deeply.
~ Elder M. Russell Ballard
I love my children deeply and I trust that you love your children deeply, too.
Loving your children deeply does not mean that you are free of falling short at times when it comes to patience, frustration, and well, simply being human. I love my little ones deeply even when my son is driving me crazy, even when my back is killing me but I cannot put my daughter down (or even sit down while holding her for that matter) without her crying more, because she is teething (so grateful for teething remedies!), and even when these life moments result in impatience, frustration, less tolerance for my pain, and at times, feelings of helplessness, I still love my children deeply.
Despite these moments where I feel helpless and despite the occasional three-year-old tantrum (we never had “terrible 2s, so where the heck did these come from?! Tornado 3s?!?!!) that simply makes no sense (to me, anyways), there are many times that I receive comments from others about how happy my children are, how Kaitlyn rarely cries, and how Jack is freely able to entertain himself. Oftentimes, friends ask me for advice in regards to how I handle certain parenting situations, in which they personally give examples of when they have felt impatient, angry, and/or inadequate.
It is my hope that through sharing these tips, that you become easier on yourself, enjoy your time with your children more, and you are able to witness your children being happy more often.
So, here are my 5 parenting tips for raising happy children:
Tip #1 – Check yourself.
Children are smart. They are smart and they can sense your state of being. If your child is unhappy, then first check how you are acting. Are you stressed? Is this coming through in the way that you are consciously or subconsciously acting around your little ones? Maybe you are worried about finances or you are frustrated by your weight or your post-pregnancy body. Maybe you are fighting with your significant other or maybe you are just so darn tired of doing all of this parenting stuff all on your own. Single parents, I respect you. Moms and Dads working inside the home, I respect you. Mom and Dads working outside of the home, I respect you, too. Each situation brings its own stressors and everyone is doing their best with what situations life has handed them. With that said, life can be hard and sometimes we just want to scream (and maybe we do) that we are just one person. If this stress is not coped with in a healthy manner, however, it can saturate you; and at a certain point, it will spill over and affect your children. If you are not living a positive life, if you are overwhelmed, if you are being held back due to issues that are unresolved, if you are unhappy more often than not, then it is time to start working on you. Once you start loving yourself and living life with a more positive mindset, then you will be able to model this to your children and they will be happier, too.
If this tip resonates with you, then receive my eBook, so I can further assist you along your journey. In just a few minutes each day, you can have a happier life, too.
Click here to receive 31 Days To Positivity – it is a gift from me to you!
Tip #2 – Let them be little.
I have a confession to make, I’ve been guilty of expecting my son to act older, at times. Specifically, I can think of the time immediately surrounding the birth of my daughter a little over six months ago. I do not know what it was, but all of a sudden I caught myself saying things like, “Jack you are a big boy. Don’t act like that.” Maybe it was because I just had my guts ripped open during my second c-section, maybe it was the pain medicine that they gave me following the surgery that made me irritable and impatient, maybe it was the hormones, maybe it was my chronic pain getting the best of me once I was once again off the pain medicine and feeling the effects of my progesterone decreasing, maybe it was the stress that I was experiencing because my baby wasn’t gaining weight as she was “supposed to”, maybe it was the stress of my baby and I establishing our breastfeeding relationship, maybe it was the sleep deprivation, and/or maybe it was just me losing sight of the fact that my son was still only two-years-old. Yes, I had a brand new baby to tend to, but my son was still at an age where he really needed his Mama. I know that I wasn’t fully present for him, and I hadn’t come to a place yet where I was able to balance the needs of two little ones. Thankfully, I’ve now come to a place where I do better (not perfect) with this and it shows in my children’s overall behavior and smiles.
Also, in considering children older than my own, I have to say that in a time when children (as early as primary school) are losing recess and free play, and when test scores are seen as more important than creativity, art, music, and physical education, it is easy to see why children are unhappy. We really do need to get back to a time when childhood is filled with exploration, imagination, free play, and expectations that are consistent with the fact that it is okay to act one’s age.
Tip #3 – Allow them to be who they were designed to be.
I know you love baseball (okay, maybe you specifically don’t), but that does not mean that your child has to love baseball. Maybe it was your dream to be a ballet dancer or figure skater, but that does not mean that this is your child’s dream. Maybe your whole family went to medical school and became doctors, but that does not mean that your child(ren) should be made to feel like a failure and/or less if they choose a path all their own. I am saying this as gently as possible and with nothing but love – get out of their way. Your child(ren)’s happiness now and in the future depends on you allowing them to be who they were designed to be. Rather than trying to mold them into what you would like them to do and/or like, get out of their way and see what they are naturally drawn to. They were given gifts all their own. Observe them, encourage them, and foster the development of what comes to them naturally. The future author, pilot, artist, doctor, entrepreneur, etc. in them will thank you; and everyone that they end up serving with their passion and natural gifts later on in life will thank you, too – that parent who got out of their child(ren)’s way.
Tip #4 – Be a positive and present role model and mentor.
No material items will ever outweigh your love, time, and undivided attention. Fill your child(ren) with positive words of encouragement. Lift them up, because the world is ready and waiting to knock them down. Validate them. Acknowledge their feelings and spectrum of emotions, including sadness, frustration, and anger. Let them know that it is okay to cry. Show them that you are truly listening. Give them eye contact. Smile. Try to become interested in their interests. Spend time with them without your phone, iPad, computer, or television. Show them the value of that which costs no money (i.e. movement, nature, faith). Humble yourself, and let them teach you, too.
Click here for a video, which shows an example of me speaking life into my children. I hope, in sharing it, that it serves to inspire you in your own parenting journey.
Tip #5 – Remember that you are raising little men and little women.
I was having a conversation with my friend recently and she asked me what I do when my son, Jack, wants to help or when he wants to do things all on his own. She shared that she becomes impatient with the additional time that it takes, and that she was asking for my thoughts because she wants to do what is best as a parent.
As a parent, I think it is easy to take over. Whether it is doing your child’s art project for them, because you do not want them to get messy or because you love to do these types of projects yourself; or whether it is not allowing your child to help, because you too are busy, tired, and find yourself growing impatient for the additional time that it will take for them to do it all on their own, I have to say that I understand and that I have been tempted to do the very same. I, however, have trained myself to step back and I’d like to suggest that you do, too. I understand that it takes patience and it may mean more mess, but trust me. The added patience and mess now, will result in a child (and future adult) who feels trusted, capable, and in many ways, a productive member of your family. Also, you might just be surprised at just how smart and competent your little one is; and with that said, you may just come to the same realization that I have. You are not just raising a little one, you are raising little men and little women. So, rather than looking at your child as a child, look at them as a little man or a little woman. I always envision the type of man that my son to will grow into.
I always envision the type of man and husband that my son may become. I think that it is great that he eagerly wants to vacuum, mop the floor, help with dishes, attempt to fold laundry, take out the garbage, bake, cook, and no joke, ask me if he can change his baby sister’s dirty diaper at the age of three. This is all him. I am not taking any credit for it other than the fact that I have decided to step back and let him help. In doing so, I envision the type of husband that he may become one day and hopefully if that is life’s plan for him, he will be a husband who does not expect that this is the sole responsibility of the woman that he chooses to walk through life with. Hopefully, he will continue to be an active participant who gives just as much, if not more, than what he takes.
I envision the type of woman and wife that my daughter may become, too. Kaitlyn, at 6-months-old, already focuses heavily on everything that her big brother does. Undoubtedly, she will try to keep up with him and I hope in teaching my son to be a gentleman that she will seek out a man who displays similar qualities when that time comes.
Envisioning my children as little adults helps to remind me to stand back, observe, and praise them for their efforts. Although Kaitlyn is only 6-months-old, I am already down on that ground in front of her cheering her on as she crawls. The smile and happiness that I receive and witness in return lets me know that I must be doing this whole parenting thing somewhat right.
Thank you for taking your time to read through my 5 parenting tips for raising happy children! This is what has worked for me despite my own shortcomings. I am not perfect and you do not need to be either!
My thoughts shared in today’s blog are based on my lifetime of experiences and my personal observations. These observations started long before I had any children of my own. From gaining a mentor and best friend in my Grandma growing up to studying psychology during my undergraduate years to working in a daycare while in college to being a personal trainer who included training of youth to being a youth mentor in Detroit to being an auntie to finally, becoming a mama to two. It is my hope that you will take what you will from these thoughts, remember that we all have shortcomings and that we do not have to do this parenting thing “perfectly”, and that what really matters most is that you love your child(ren) deeply. If you enjoyed this, then please let me know by liking, commenting, and/or sharing this to help others along their parenting journey.