What does it really take to make a child happy?

Is love enough to make a child happy?

It is obviously a necessary condition, but not sufficient. Parental love can even sometimes hinder a child’s development! This is the case when parents love their child not for what he or she really is but for what they expect from him or her. By overburdening them with their own ambitions and projections, without taking their own desires into consideration, they greatly weaken them. When the child realizes that he cannot meet their expectations, he develops low self-esteem and feels disappointed in their eyes. This is hardly compatible with their happiness! The love that makes a child happy is attentive to his singularity and respectful of his specificities, even if these do not correspond to the dreams that have been built for him. Above all, it is a love that knows how to keep the right distance. Some parents, in the name of the affection they have for their child, tend to invade his intimacy, to impose a forced complicity on him. The child then finds himself “prisoner”, without really knowing who he is or where he belongs, victim of a real identity confusion. This often leads to strong anxieties that prevent them from being happy. To love him without suffocating him, an objective to never lose sight of.

A child is often a claimant for material goods, on the register “everyone else has them! ». Does acceding to his requests make him happy?

Obtaining the objects he asks for can give him instant satisfaction, giving him the feeling that he blends more easily into the group by having the same attributes as the others. But this has nothing to do with happiness, on the contrary! Being happy in life is learned over time, by acquiring certain aptitudes from childhood. In particular that of knowing how to remain free from all kinds of dictates. For example, you can explain to your child that he has lots of other things to share with his friends than designer clothes or a state-of-the-art telephone: his imagination to invent games, his sense of humor, his friendship for them, etc. By not yielding to all his consumerist demands, his parents give him weapons for later, they teach him to put up with frustrations, especially to accept his difference and even to be proud of it. This helps him to build a good narcissism, one of the keys to happiness as we know from numerous researches.

Does making a child happy mean sparing him or her as much sadness and pain as possible?

Certainly not! In any case, it would be a totally illusory undertaking: despite all the benevolence and protection of the parents, sorrows are necessarily part of the child’s life, as they are for every living being. They are emotional experiences that cannot be ignored and are very useful because they build their interiority and enrich their personality. He learns through them that one can succeed in overcoming pain and get over it. And that after sadness, joy always comes! It is this faith in a better future when one is going through a bad time that makes it possible to never give up happiness throughout one’s life. It is therefore completely useless and counterproductive to want to protect a child at all costs, for example by having a cuddly toy in reserve when he loses his or by hiding sad news (illness, death, unemployment, etc.) concerning a family member. Teaching your child the ability to be happy means, first of all, never lying to him or her by embellishing reality and secondly, teaching him or her to apprehend worries with a certain hindsight.

Do you have to be happy parents to have a happy child?

Not necessarily! Besides, who can claim to be happy all the time? On the other hand, I think that parental optimism is an essential asset for a child’s future happiness. That is to say, this disposition to consider the glass half full rather than half empty, to find joy in all sorts of possible sources (music, sports, reading, nature, dance, the company of others, etc.). Raised with such an example in front of him, a child will know how to make it his own! That said, a child growing up with pessimistic parents is not condemned to sadness for life: nice encounters can lead him on the path to resilience and teach him, even as an adult, a taste for the joy of life.

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