Here are 5 simple things you can do starting now to help raise happy, healthy, confident kids!
1. Celebrate your child’s unique personality and God-given abilities.
Your child will grow to appreciate those and get a sense of where they’re going in the world. Talking about your child’s gifts helps them gain understanding about why they are here and what difference they can make in the world and help them feel loved and accepted.
2. Communicate your expectations.
It’s important to communicate the limits and expectations you have for your child and make sure they are consistent and predictable. Children feel safe and understand how to behave when they know what to expect.
You may think an easy way to make your child happy is to buy them a toy they want. Although your child could be delighted at first, that excitement is temporary. Teaching your child that happiness comes from the inside and not from acquiring material possessions isn’t always easy. Talk about your priorities, values and how non-material things like giving a gift instead of receiving it, volunteering or spending time with a special friend or family member make you happy.
4. Happy parents = happy kids.
Whether they are toddlers or teenagers, your children pick up on your moods. Children idolize many things about their parents including their behavior and the way they act towards others. There is a strong relationship between happy parents and happy kids.
5. Work as a team.
Problems will arise between you and your child’s other parent, but work on those issues on behalf of your children. Regardless if you live together or in separate homes, it’s essential that parents (and step-parents) work as a team. When children know their parents are working together, they have a sense of safety and security.
Tom Karel, MA, CAADC is a limited licensed psychologist at the Pine Rest Campus Clinic. He provides outpatient counseling for children and adults in the treatment of anxiety, depression, bipolar, ADHD, anger as well as substance use disorders.