via Ideas.Ted : Moms and dads often feel like they can’t win. If they pay too much attention to their kids, they’re helicopter parents; too little, and they’re absentee parents. What’s the happy medium that will result in truly happy, self-sufficient kids? Here are five tips.

1. Give your kids things they can own and control.
“Enlist the children in their own upbringing. Research backs this up: children who plan their own goals, set weekly schedules and evaluate their own work build up their frontal cortex and take more control over their lives. We have to let our children succeed on their own terms, and yes, on occasion, fail on their own terms. I was talking to Warren Buffett’s banker, and he was chiding me for not letting my children make mistakes with their allowance. And I said, ‘But what if they drive into a ditch?’ He said, ‘It’s much better to drive into a ditch with a $6 allowance than a $60,000-a-year salary or a $6 million inheritance’.“

— Bruce Feiler, writer and author of The Secrets of Happy Families

2. Don’t worry about raising happy kids.
“In our desperate quest to create happy kids, we may be assuming the wrong moral burden. It strikes me as a better goal, and, dare I say, a more virtuous one, to focus on making productive kids and moral kids, and to simply hope that happiness will come to them by virtue of the good they do and the love that they feel from us. I think if we all did that, the kids would still be all right, and so would their parents — possibly in both cases even better.”

— Jennifer Senior, writer and author of All Joy and No Fun

3. Show your kids that you value who they are as people.

“Childhood needs to teach our kids how to love, and they can’t love others if they don’t first love themselves, and they won’t love themselves if we can’t offer them unconditional love. When our precious offspring come home from school or we come home from work, we need to close our technology, put away our phones, look them in the eye and let them see the joy that fills our faces when we see our child. Then, we have to say, ‘How was your day? What did you like about today?’ They need to know they matter to us as humans, not because of their GPA.”

— Julie Lythcott-Haims, former dean of freshmen at Stanford University and author of How to Raise an Adult

4. Teach your kids to help out around the house — without being asked.

“We absolve our kids of doing the work of chores around the house, and then they end up as young adults in the workplace still waiting for a checklist, but it doesn’t exist. More importantly, they lack the impulse, the instinct to roll up their sleeves and pitch in and look around and wonder, How can I be useful to my colleagues? How can I anticipate a few steps ahead to what my boss might need?”

— Julie Lythcott-Haims

5. Remember that the little things matter.

“Quite small things that parents do are associated with good outcomes for children — talking and listening to a child, responding to them warmly, teaching them their letters and numbers, taking them on trips and visits. Reading to children every day seems to be really important, too. In one study, children whose parents were reading to them daily when they were five and then showing an interest in their education at the age of 10 were significantly less likely to be in poverty at the age of 30 than those whose parents weren’t doing those things.”

— Helen Pearson, science journalist and author of The Life Project

Via Mommy Moment: Tips for Raising Content Kids

When parents are asked what their one wish for their children is, many respond with the fact that they want their children to be happy.

We all want to be raising content kids. Parents want happy children. From the moment they are born our kids’ happiness becomes a top priority. That doesn’t change as they grow, however it can seem to get more difficult to navigate how to ensure their happiness.

Remember that having happy kids does not mean giving children everything they want. It does not mean giving in when they whine and beg. It does not mean having them kids signed up for that dance class or hockey program. Many parents fall into the trap of saying yes to their children because they do not want them to feel bad. Kids, just like us, will have disappointments in life and it is not our job as parents to “fix” their disappointment.

Happiness is about parenting the individual child. Every child is different and will not necessarily respond to parenting the same way. The Happy Kid Handbook explores the differences among introverts, extroverts, and everything in between. This guide to parenting offers parents the strategies they need to meet their child exactly where he or she needs to be met.

Sometimes our child’s emotions can get overlooked. Parents tend to focus more on how their children are behaving, rather than how they are feeling. Maintaining an awareness of your child’s emotional state and keeping in mind that emotions play a big part in their wellbeing, can help parents become far more involved with their children and educate themselves on ways to raise a happy and content child.

Tips For Raising Content Kids

Ensure Your Happiness

Children can feed off our emotions. If we as parents are unhappy or not content in life, it is more likely that our children will feel that and mirror our feelings. Surround yourself with positive people, laugh often and take time for yourself to boost your mood. Chances are you will see a difference in your child’s emotional state as well.

Do Not Expect Perfection

Learn to expect effort over perfection. As long as your child is putting in the effort to do their best, that’s all that matters. Expecting perfection puts a lot of stress onto a child and therefore causes irritation and lower self-confidence when they don’t perform perfectly. No one is perfect. Make it very clear to your child that effort is important but that you don’t expect perfection.

Give Responsibilities

Giving your child responsibilities can help to increase their self-confidence and make them feel valued. Delegate responsibilities to your child that are age appropriate and within their capabilities. This will help to make them feel as though they are contributing something positive and in turn, increase their happiness.

Teach Gratitude

Take time daily to focus on what each member of your family is grateful for. If you all sit at the table together to enjoy dinner every night as a family, go around the table and express one thing you are grateful for each night. Doing this can help to foster a positive attitude, contentment, and happiness.

Your child’s happiness can depend on many different factors and it is important that we as parents don’t put too much pressure on them and focus on fostering a positive attitude. Your child will be much happier for it.

Note From MOMmy:

This article is a reminder for myself not to self-imposed my own personality on my daughters. It can be a challenged for a me because I can be a tad of OCD 😊. Anyone else experiencing the same problem?

Via Fox News: How to squelch the pressure and raise happy kids

A young mother of two daughters was sharing some of her parenting struggles with me. She spoke of how overwhelmed she felt in the early days of parenting when she was discovering how differently each of her children were wired, how foreign their personalities were from hers, and how ill equipped she felt to parent them. At her wits’ end, she asked for advice from a mentor whom she admired, whose own children were adults. But rather than being quick to offer advice, her mentor replied with a question. “What if you just let them be who they are?”

Letting our children “be who they are” is probably one of the biggest challenges we face. Not piling our expectations onto them. Not living our lives through them. Not expecting them to do things the way we would do them. Not passing on to them the pressure we feel. Finding the right balance between affirming who they are while still encouraging them to grow. Teaching them to give their best without making them feel like they must be the best at everything.

There is so much that we want for these kids that we love so much, and there is very little that will stop us from ensuring they achieve their full potential and purpose. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes it is not.

Heeding the advice of the well-known proverb, “Prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child,” is a good thing. But, living vicariously through our kids and shackling our identities to their success or failure—not so much.

Sadly, we have never seen a generation of kids who are more miserable than this one. Researchers have a slew of theories for why we are seeing so much misery among kids, but if you guessed that how we parent is one of them, you’re correct.

Of course it is good and right to be proud of the good choices our kids make and to be on our knees in prayer over the not-so-good choices our kids make. But if our worth is anchored in our child’s choices, their good choices will inflate our heads and their bad choices will deflate our hearts. And that is just no way to live.

More importantly, if our worth is anchored to our child’s choices, we better believe they feel the weight of it. It’s a pressure, a burden that they are not designed to carry. It’s too heavy. It will crush them. It is crushing them. Sadly, we have never seen a generation of kids who are more miserable than this one. Researchers have a slew of theories for why we are seeing so much misery among kids, but if you guessed that how we parent is one of them, you’re correct.

And it starts early. Take, for example, the grocery store scenario. We are mortified when our kids throw a temper tantrum in the checkout lane. Why? Because that must mean we’re a bad mom. It must mean we haven’t done everything we know to do to raise children who are well behaved and self-controlled. Right? It’s a silly example but worth noting how we, from very early on, need our kids to look awesome because we think that makes us look awesome.

Or how about the athletic field? There are few places we see parents piling the pressure onto their kids more than they do there.

Coaches and parents alike question the refs and umps, scream at the players, and throw profanity around like confetti. We’ve kinda lost our minds, and our kids crack under the pressure.

Could it be that we need our kids to succeed because that means we’re succeeding? Do we need our kids to be “good enough” because it means that we parents are “good enough?” Do we need our child to get “student of the month” because that must mean we are “parent of the month”?

Of course, some kids are just more prone to perfection-seeking than others. Such kids tend to create their own pressure, even if their parents are actively trying to relieve it. But often, we parents play a role in the pressure our kids feel, so we have to be willing to take an honest look at how we pile our own pressure onto our kids.

We parents aren’t the only ones linking accomplishment to acceptance and success to significance. Our kids are attempting to answer the question, Is who I am enough? by:

  • How well they perform on the field
  • How much they excel in school
  • How many likes they get on their Instagram feed
  • How well they behave for us

The primary message our children receive is that they’d better be the best at everything, and this leaves them afraid to reveal their inadequacies and insecurities—and hiding behind the best version of themselves. This leaves them longing for what all our hearts most crave:

  • to be known—truly and deeply known
  • to be accepted—for who they are, not who they wish they were
  • to be loved—with no strings attached

What we want is for our kids to feel what we ourselves long to feel. Safe. Safe to take off their masks and let down their guards. Safe to be as fragile as they feel, trusting they will remain loved just as they are, for exactly who they are.

So when the internal and external voices whisper lies to our children like, “You’re insignificant. You’re not enough. You’re not measuring up. You are a disappointment,” we want them to know, deep in their souls: The only One who gets to define you is the One who created you and He calls you a one-of-a-kind-masterpiece who is deeply known and completely loved, even on your worst day and even in your greatest failure.

But here’s the thing. To help our kids live in this freedom, we have to know this freedom for ourselves.

We have to go first. We have to get our own identities anchored in being fully known and accepted and loved by God first. And as we do, we will become emboldened and empowered to lead our under-pressure kids in doing the same.

Learning how to live in real freedom from the pressure you face, and leading your children in doing the same, is the message packed into my new book, “Mom Set Free”.