6 Traits of Moms With Happy ChildrenKatlyn Joy | 4, June 2014
We all want to be good moms. But, what defines success as a mother? Happy children? What makes for a happy child?
Happy children are secure, engaged in life, not nail biting in a corner, and not afraid to venture out. Happy children have their real needs met; a home, food, clothing, nurturing and education. They can make friends because they have been taught how to share, empathize and when needed, stand their ground. They embrace learning new things and have a sense of what they can do well.
So how do we go about raising a child like this?
1. We meet our child's needs consistently.
We meet needs, not every whim and want. That is far different, and leads to deeply unsatisfied, unhappy children, ultimately. Needs. When your child is hungry, he can count on Mama being there to bring a bottle. When your child is tired, Mom will scoop her up and tuck her into bed, protests or not. When your child is frightened, you will make him feel safe. You don't have to be there every second, but you have to be there when it counts, and it counts to be there reliably.
2. We have joy in our life, and it is contagious.
If you love your life, you teach your children to expect to do the same. They will approach life positively and be expectant of happiness; not perfection, but being content. If you model frustration and unhappiness more days than not, more hours of the day than not, your child will expect the same in his own life. If you do things that make you unhappy, because you think it's the right thing or you are pressured to do so, it will show. Either make different choices for you and your family, or find a way to be content in your situation.
3. We teach our children responsibility, in age-appropriate ways.
When I tell my 7-year-old to get a job, she knows I am joking. When I tell her to wipe down the table after her snack, she knows I am not. Every child as he or she grows needs to feel capable and a part of the household. Chores and responsibilities do that for children. They know they contribute and things are expected of them. If you grumble and moan, they realize they are expected to help because they can. They also know the world will not cater to them. If you teach them otherwise, because you do everything for them, they will be incapable of handling what life demands.
4. We protect our children.
Happy children feel safe and secure. If a child sees you at the door when she cries, if she sees you at the end of the day at her daycare, if she sees you at the bus stop day after day following school, if she sees you watching from the wings as she grows, she feels safe and cared for. If you protect him from threats, from situations, even from harmful things in the environment whether germs or 'R' rated movies, he gets the message. You are there protecting them.
5. We are Moms, not a pals or buddies.
Many parents want to be the cool Mom or Dad. However, you cannot relinquish the parenting role for that of a friend. Your child has friends; you are the only mother he or she gets. That does not mean being a rigid disciplinarian all the time, or that you don't know your child well and share closeness. It means you will be a parent when needed and a friend he or she needs a friend. However, parenting always comes first.
6. We see our children both as who they are, and who they can be.
This is an easy one to trip over. We cannot gloss over big behavior problems in our children, insisting it has to be the other's child's fault our child punched someone. We have to be realistic. Do you want your child to be one of the contestants on something like American Idol, who insists he is going to be a star, and he cannot carry a tune in a bucket? You wonder, "Who told that guy he could sing?" Probably a well-meaning, but misguided mother, for starters. Don't shoot down your child's dreams, but don't inflate their egos with false praise, either. Recognize your child's true abilities and foster their burgeoning interests. Help them, guide them, and praise them for real accomplishments.
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