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Raising a Happy Child

Here are some tips on Raising a Happy Child by providing the necessary Love, Security, Discipline, Honesty and Play.

All parents want their children to be happy and grow up well-adjusted. We want to give them the best possible opportunities. All children have some basic needs and dreams that we should try to fulfil.

Our kids did not ask to be born. They are gifts to us and the world. We have to treat this special person with love, care and due responsibility. We have to realize that children are not all alike, that each is an individual, unique with his own special personality and needs. These needs require attention and include comfort, security, food, activity and proper sleep.

You must agree that being a good parent is one of the hardest and most challenging jobs in the world, one that we cannot afford to fail in.

Children need LOVE

Kids cannot be 'spoiled' by too much love, but rather by too little. The brat that you see is usually a child who is neglected in some way and is seeking attention. The child who is loved knows it and develops into a contented, mature adult.

Love has to be unconditional with no strings attached. Children have to receive genuine love, for their own sake, not because they are pretty, smart, talented etc. No matter who they are, or what they look like, or how they perform in school or sport, they all need encouragement and praise so that they have a healthy self-esteem.

Unconditional love is NOT smothering affection or showering gifts on them. It also does not mean that we condone any bad behaviour. Some parents fall into the trap of being over-indulgent, they accept the child talking nonsense and not correcting minor behavioural problems for fear of putting their child down. I noticed that such children grow up to be self-indulgent and self-focused, unaware of their surroundings. They are likely to be stabbed in the back by colleagues in office politics and don't even know what hit them. They are also unaware that what they are saying or doing is not common sense or logical. You must know someone like that.

Children need Security

A feeling of security is vital to children. It comes not only from being loved but also from growing up in a secure home free from fighting parents, child abuse or over-interference from family members. A warm bed, sufficient food and clothing are all part of the feeling of security.

You might think that this is a no-brainer, but there are parents out there more concerned about their own well-being than their children's. Parents who have put themselves first all their lives are sometimes unable to switch their mindset and think of someone else first, even their own children. If a parent constantly wants instant gratification, they are also unable to make the necessary day to day sacrifices needed to mold and raise a child. Many things have to be done to lay the foundation of success for your child, most of it has to be done sooner rather than later, during your kid's childhood rather than right before his adulthood.

Children need Discipine

Children need the security of firm, loving discipline. They need to be protected from dangerous toys, games and situations. Children must learn early that there are limits in behaviour. They have to learn to respect their own and other people's possessions. There is no such thing as unlimited freedom to do as they like, that would lead to chaos and anarchy.

Be consistent with your discipline. Don't make threats that you cannot or will not carry out. Try taking away privileges for a while before resorting to corporal punishment, when children are naughty. I was never disciplined with the cane when I was young, though my brothers were. Parents tend to be more gentle with daughters than sons, I guess. Or perhaps boys are just more incorrigible? :o)

Children need Honesty

It is important to be honest with children. I have to confess that I have told my kids white lies and been 'discovered', but we can only try our best to be honest even when explaining things that hurt or are unpleasant to hear. We must try to be fair in our comments about others, especially about people different from ourselves. This would teach our children tolerance in this world where intolerance has led to far too many deaths.

Children will resent incorrect or illogical decisions and comments from their parents. It isn't nice to be called out by your own kids.

Children need Play

Kids need to be active and creative. They need to be given the opportunity to express themselves freely. 'Make Believe' play is important, so that they can work through their fantasies and frustrations.

Happy and Healthy play includes :

  • Play with parents
  • Play in a supervised playground (see Playground Safety)
  • Have playmates
  • Imitate the jobs of parents or other adults
  • Play with sand and water

Remember that :

  • Parents are the heroes and role models for your children. Don't let your kids down.
  • Parents are the best teachers, coaches and mentors for your own children.

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