By: Deirdre Littlefield
Happiness seems to be at the center of our collective parenting goals in most recent years. I suppose that parents have always wanted happy children, but maybe it’s the definition of happiness that is changing with our times.
My children definitely appear happy when I buy them what they want immediately or we go to a party. I get to hear endless laughter when they are surrounded with friends slurping down gatorades chomping on their favorite pizza. I love watching them play capture the flag or kickball with their buds and can see the happiness in their eyes when they get to enjoy this free time. Friendships and parties are certainly an important part of childhood and a right of passage they deserve.
I do believe they crave more though. Our young children want to feel proud walking on that bus each morning. They want to behave and see their teacher gleam with pride when they help another student unexpectedly. Our kids need to participate in household chores so they learn the incredible feeling of contributing to their family. They crave boundaries as they learn their limits and deserve to know the wonderful rewards that come from their very own hard work.
Our kids need to know that life is not a party if our goal as parents is to cultivate happiness within that will sustain their darkest days. Fun can bring momentary happiness; but discipline, self respect, responsibility, and resilience will be the everlasting gift of true happiness we must provide.