Every parent wants their children to be happy before anything else in the world. Every day with them is very rewarding; seeing their progress, listening to their laugh, observing how they socialize with other children… But in order to smile while we see them grow, there are a series of small challenges that we have to learn to overcome. Although parenting is a long-distance race in which there are no magic formulas, there are some tips that will help us to raise happy children.
The best advice: lead by example
The key point that we should not forget is that our children are guided by the things they see at home. We are their most immediate reference. This is why the easiest way to educate respectful children is by setting the example in our homes.
If you are a caring person, your children will follow your footsteps, by helping their friends or schoolmates when they need it. They will not hesitate to help others that struggle a bit more. It will happen the same way if they see that you recycle and that you are concerned about the environment or, simply, if they see that you say thank you and smile at others. These are simple approaches that children will never forget.
Preach by example but also listen to them. This does not only work to know what they want or expect, but also to improve their self-esteem. Get inside their shoes and ask your little girl what is her opinion. Surely her ideas will surprise you and she will be happy to see that her opinion is taken into account.
It is important to perform this listening exercise also with emotions. Families can help their children understand that they cannot always be happy. Sadness and anger are part of the emotions they will feel throughout their entire life.
Pay attention to how they feel. Do not interrupt them. Let them, in their words or in their way, tell you what is happening to them and why they think they feel that way. Once they open up, it will be time to help them control their emotions and see how you could try to solve the problem together.
All parents have to fight against their protective instinct. As hard as this may be for us, they should also make mistakes in order to grow as a person as we did once. Let them take their own decisions and see the outcomes that they have.
If every time they fall down we rush to help them, we forbid them to go back to the swing, in the end we will only create unnecessary fears. Teach them how they have to do it and encourage them. You will be impressed to see how they achieve whatever they are trying to do even sooner than you thought.
We want to defend our children at all costs, which sometimes, leads us to treat and educate them as the rest of people do, in order to prevent them from getting hurt. All children are not the same, just like it happens with adults. Let the child choose the way to go, even if he has to break stereotypes.
If your son likes to dress up as a princess, let him do it. If it is your daughter who rejects dolls, girly hairstyles and prefers sports, let her play sports. Forget what others may or may not think. The important thing is your child’s happiness.