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Of course, young kids need plenty of encouragement, whether they're learning to crawl, throw a ball, or draw a circle. But your child can get so accustomed to hearing "Good job! He'll also sense when you're exaggerating "That's the best block tower I have ever seen! Don't praise your child if he does something that he's supposed to do. When he brushes his teeth or throws his shirt into the hamper, for example, a simple "thank you" is sufficient. Try to offer specific feedback: Instead of saying that your child's drawing is gorgeous, you might point out his nice use of purple.

It's natural to want to prevent your child from getting hurt, feeling discouraged, or making mistakes, but when you intervene -- trying to get her invited to a birthday party she wasn't included in, or pressuring the soccer coach to give her more game time -- you're not doing her any favors. Kids need to know that it's okay to fail, and that it's normal to feel sad, anxious, or angry, says Robert Brooks, PhD, coauthor of Raising Resilient Children. They learn to succeed by overcoming obstacles, not by having you remove them.

How To Raise Happy Kids – 10 Steps Backed By Science

She even encourages parents to make their own little mistakes on purpose. When your child gets the chance to make choices from a young age, he'll gain confidence in his own good judgment. Of course, kids love to run the show, but having too much control can be overwhelming; it's best to give your child two or three options to choose from. For example, don't ask your 3-year-old what he wants for lunch, but offer pasta or peanut butter and jelly. At the same time, let your child know certain choices are up to you.

Gloria Kushel's 8-year-old daughter, Caroline, likes to dress like a boy and wear her hair cropped short. If your child tends to feel defeated by disappointments, help her be more optimistic. Instead of offering glib reassurances to "look on the bright side," encourage her to think about specific ways to improve a situation and bring her closer to her goals, says Karen Reivich, PhD, coauthor of The Optimistic Child. If she's behind her classmates in reading, explain that everyone learns at her own pace, and offer to spend extra time reading with her.

If she's crushed because she didn't get the lead in the second-grade play, don't say, "Well, I think you're a star.

7 Secrets to Raising a Happy Child

They are more likely to get married, and once married, they are more satisfied with their marriage. Parental depression actually seems to cause behavioral problems in kids; it also makes our parenting less effective. Take some time each week to have fun with friends. Because laughter is contagious, hang out with friends or family members who are likely to be laughing themselves.

How to raise brave kids

Neuroscientists believe that hearing another person laugh triggers mirror neurons in a region of the brain that makes listeners feel as though they are actually laughing themselves. More scientific methods for increasing your happiness here. Nobody denies learning about relationships is important — but how many parents actually spend the time to teach kids how to relate to others?

It can start with encouraging kids to perform small acts of kindness to build empathy. This not only builds essential skills and makes your kids better people, research shows over the long haul it makes them happier. These helpers were especially protected against depression and anxiety.

More on creating good relationships here. Parents who overemphasize achievement are more likely to have kids with high levels of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse compared to other kids. They are not diverted from the task of learning by a concern with how smart they might — or might not — look.

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More on praising correctly here. Want to avoid dealing with a surly teenager? Then teach those pre-teens to look on the bright side. Ten-year-olds who are taught how to think and interpret the world optimistically are half as prone to depression when they later go through puberty. Author Christine Carter puts it simply: More on how to encourage optimism here. Tell me about that. Relate to the child, help them identify what they are feeling and let them know that those feelings are okay even though bad behavior might not be. More on active listening and labeling and how hostage negotiators use this here.

We can overcome that with good habits. Thinking through these methods is taxing but acting habitually is easy, once habits have been established.

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How do you help kids build lasting happiness habits? Carter explains a few powerful methods backed by research:. More on developing good habits here. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Raising Confident, Happy Children: Paperback , pages. Published June 7th by Hardie Grant first published February 1st To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

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How to hit that sweet spot of appropriate protection and independence

Be the first to ask a question about Raising Confident, Happy Children. Lists with This Book. This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Oct 12, Jennifer rated it it was amazing. I've had this on my bedside table for years. There's lots of good information about parenting in this.


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This book has been the inspiration for several articles and Anthony has always been gracious with his help and expert comments.