Most important aspects of Happiness
What is the most important thing that a parent wants for their child?
Happiness… right!? All you want is a happy child beaming with joy, enjoying what they are doing, having the right goals, having mental stability and living life to the fullest. Yet when it comes down to it, all parents forget these most important aspects and sit in an invisible race. I call it invisible because it doesn’t actually exist, except in the minds of those participating.
“Arjun is the best at Math in his class”, beams Mrs Kapoor. She’s happy he’s ahead of his fifteen peers and she more than willingly puts him in five extra classes for it to stay that way. Her satisfaction lies in the fact that fifteen children in Arjun’s class aren’t as good as him. She’s never asked her seven-year-old whether he even likes Math or not and does he even wants to take the extra classes?
Mrs Kapoor needs to realise Arjun being good at Math is ultimately only going to matter in Arjun’s life and no one else’s. This is just a small example of helicopter parenting where every toddler or child is doing excessive after school activities or tuition so they can be ahead of their peers or the mothers can boast to the other parents about how good their child is. The intention of these goals is wrong hence the results aren’t going to be fruitful.
What is the end goal or what really matters in the long run?
Your child should grow up to be a kind-hearted, balanced, compassionate and loving human being, Happiness will follow. Let’s assume the child goes on to become a Mathematician, world-class chess champion or Olympic swimmer, but it is not going to matter at the end if the individual is depressed or a wretched adult. Personality and mental development are more important than skill development in the larger scheme of things.
I have these four main focus points for all parents to ensure their children grow up to be mentally healthy individuals.
1.Your child should be able to feel, express and manage a range of positive and negative emotions. From a young age, teach your child or children what different emotions are and how to identify them. Anger, happiness, disappointment, fear, surprise, sadness and guilt are all a part of being human and we will experience them at some point or the other. Begin with identifying, accepting and then understanding the impact of those emotions on our mental health. This practice at an early stage in life will determine a successful and balanced adult who will be able to deal with failure with grace and handle triumph with humility. For instance, a good technique for teaching children about emotion is pointing it out in others. When you read storybooks or watch movies, ask your child how they think the character may be feeling? This not only increases emotional vocabulary but also teaches empathy, the act of putting oneself in others’ shoes.
2.Your child should be able to form and maintain good relationships with others. Communication is Key! If the child learns how to connect with people, understand relationships, be empathetic towards others and mend uncomfortable affiliations then they will know how to handle careers, marriages, parenthood and all relationships across the board. Teach them how important it is to sustain good.
friends, relatives, and colleagues, and how it impacts our lives and mental health in the long run. I follow and teach my child this very simple formula of communication: The “three gates” technique. Before we speak, our words must pass through three gates (or barriers):
Is it true?
Is it helpful?
Is it kind?
Brainstorming says these “Three Gates” could help build strong relationships.
Teach them the ability to cope and manage failures and changes in life. First and foremost, educate them about everything being temporary in life; happiness or sadness, triumph or disaster, nothing lasts forever.
Many parents today seem willing to go to ever-greater lengths to protect their kids from the pain of dashed expectations. Consider how many preschools have a policy against inviting only select classmates to a birthday celebration; everyone must be included. At the party, you have to avoid playing musical chairs because someone ends up without a seat, feeling excluded. Lots of sports leagues for younger kids don’t even bother to keep score anymore to prevent one team from feeling like losers. And all because we don’t want our children to feel bad about themselves. The irony is that disappointments are actually beneficial for kids. Learning to deal with setbacks helps them develop key characteristics they’ll need to succeed, such as coping skills, emotional resilience, creative thinking, and the ability to collaborate. “Parents see failure as a source of pain for their child instead of an opportunity for him to say, ‘I can deal with this. I’m strong.’”
Teach them the ability to maintain good self-esteem.
When you have low self-esteem, you put little value on your opinions and ideas. You might constantly worry that you aren’t good enough and constantly seek validation from the world. Parents must encourage healthy self-esteem from a very young age, reinforce a good opinion of their abilities and teach them to recognize their flaws. For instance, last week, my son Aarshiv made the school soccer team. Boy, was I proud? And I couldn’t stop saying so. “Good job, buddy! You’re the best!” I beamed, he beamed, and all seemed right with the world. It’s not the first time my kid has heard me shout their praises. I’m the resident cheering section, his biggest fan, a back-patter extraordinaire. These days, you can find me handing out compliments as if they’re sticks of gum—when my kid practises the piano, score a goal, help with dishes. The logic goes like this: The kid does good (or good enough for me), so I make him feel great about himself. It’s called parents, we can practise mindful speech simply by asking fewer questions of our children. Choosing our words carefully, “I’m so glad you are home” versus “How was school today?” or “Let’s take a deep breath together” versus “Why are you crying?” can make the difference between feeling like they’re on a firing line and feel supported.
While there’s no way to avoid sorrow, adversity, or distress in life, there are ways to help smooth the rough waters
and regain a sense of control. Self-esteem is your overall opinion of yourself, and how you feel about your abilities and limitations. When you have healthy self-esteem, you respect yourself and hold yourself responsible for your thoughts and actions. Boosting self-esteem. Let them take risks, make their own choices, and pursue their interests.
In the end, mental stability, emotional resilience, and coping skills are going to determine your child’s happiness and success in life. Focus on their thought process, communication skills, actions and reactions, the rest will follow. Enable them to be the best versions of themselves to have fulfilled lives.
– Written Exclusively for CoCoGram by Ashna Kalra, The Tiny Genius Company.