Life Lessons Children Learn When They’re Not Happy All the Time
You and your child don’t have to agree on everything.
Everybody wants to make their children happy. But trying to make your children happy ALL the time is a bust. Nobody is happy all the time. You don’t want to teach your child that they must feel happy all the time. It’s easy to make that mistake.
You want your child to have all of the things you didn’t have growing up, but this will give them a false sense of security and will backfire.
You and your child don’t have to agree on everything. If you’ve been a parent for a while, then you may already know this.
You may have enjoyed playing sports when you were a child. But, your child doesn’t seem to have much of an interest. Maybe, your child enjoys playing the piano or doing art. That’s alright. You put unnecessary pressure on your child when you expect them to like the same things you do.
This is also known as having differences. When it’s alright for you and your child to have differences, you are teaching your child that they don’t have to be like everyone else.
As a human being, you are complex and you are always changing. That’s alright. Your child needs to learn the value of accepting others the way they are.
Here are 5 benefits of accepting what makes your child happy, even if you don’t feel the same, and why it’s dangerous to make your child happy all the time:
1. Your Child Won’t Buy into the Myth That You Must Always Be Happy.
In our culture, it’s easy to feel like everyone is always happy. This can make your child feel bad when they don’t always feel happy.
As human beings, we have a variety of emotions. You feel sad, angry, or overwhelmed. This is actually normal. Let your child learn to express all of their feelings.1
2. Your Child Won’t Grow Up to Be a Pleaser.
Children are wired to please and they want to please their parents. As a young child, they believe they are pleasing you based on the feedback you give them. When your feedback is positive, they feel they have done a good job in pleasing you. When your feedback is negative, then they feel like they have failed at pleasing you.
This basically sets the foundation. If they think they must always make you happy, you are setting the groundwork for your child to be a people pleaser. This is a slippery slope. Their self-esteem will be based on whether or not they think they are doing a good job at pleasing others. This can lead to many other problems in the long run.
3. Your Child Will Learn the Importance of Character.
It’s easy as a parent to want your child to succeed and not to feel bad. It’s alright to succeed, but not at the expense of others. As a parent, it’s easy to get caught up in the competitive spirit. You don’t want to teach your child, that it is alright to throw their friend under the bus to win at something.
Character may not seem important as a child or an adolescent, but it is everything as an adult.
4. Your Child Will Feel Good About Having Their Own Dreams.
It’s easy as a parent to want your child to be just like you. From the minute you found out you were pregnant, you had a dream for your child. Then your child was born and you found out they were wired entirely different than you.
When you accept your child for who they are, they will feel better about themselves. They will develop their own dreams and learn how to carry them out. This also teaches them that they don’t have to be like everyone else.
5. You Will Teach Your Child Not to Judge Others.
As a parent, it’s easy to judge other parents. Nobody is all good or all bad. You shouldn’t expect this of others or yourself. All parents make mistakes.
What’s important is that you learn from the mistake and you repair the mistake. This will teach your child the importance of forgiveness, and not only to forgive others but to also forgive themselves.
Start cutting other parents some slack and let your child know why you are cutting them some slack. For example, you know when you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you can be a little forgetful.
It’s hard when your child doesn’t like the same things you do. It may be even harder when you don’t like their friends. It’s important to let your child make their own choices as they get older. Make sure to choose your words carefully. You don’t want to leave scars.
I find it helpful to talk about why you feel sad. Maybe, you are concerned about a new friend your child has. You noticed they miss a lot of school or don’t come over when they say they are going to. Make sure you let your child know what your concerns are upfront. This way they won’t feel judged.
- Wenner Moyer, M. (2016, June 14). Aw—Mommy will make it better. Slate. Retrieved from http://www.slate.com/articles/life/the_kids/2016/06/when_to_give_crying_kids_comfort_and_when_to_tell_them_to_buck_up.html
This guest article originally appeared on YourTango.com: Why It’s So Dangerous To Make Your Child Happy All The Time
Guest Author, P. (2018). Life Lessons Children Learn When They’re Not Happy All the Time. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 19, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/life-lessons-children-learn-when-theyre-not-happy-all-the-time/