Are We Robbing Kids of Happiness?

Overloaded/over scheduled

Overloaded/over scheduled

Cyclical Representation of an unhappy child.

Happiness should not be elusive, but for today’s generation of learners, it is. Unwittingly, parents’ obsession and fear that their children may not be competitive enough in comparison to their peers contribute to the elusiveness of raising happy kids. Often, this practice results in parents ending up stressed, less happy, and somewhat disengaged.

I want my children to become their best person. I want them to be happy wherever life takes them. That is my only wish for my four kids and I know I will need to  remind myself about this every now and then.

Ten Essential Needs of a Happy Child.

When we moved to Singapore in June of 2012, I told my teens that their priority is to redefine a new normal. Even though they performed extremely well in the previous duty station and although it is our second time in Singapore, every tour poses a different set of adjustments. So I reassured my brood and advised them that their main concern should not be about grades, but happiness.

Who cares about 4.0 or high academic achievements if we have children who cannot infect others with their joy and excitement about life! My point of view should not in any way to be interpreted as approval to go lax on their academics; or alternatively, an excuse for not being able to perform above the standards. It is just that at the end of the day, what is 4.0 if that is not translated into something meaningful.

On the other hand, what is meaningful if it lacks joy? Twenty years from now, who gives a hoot about high school grades? Conversely, our children’s temperament and overall happiness in the developing stages of their life will affect what will become of them twenty years from now.

Jennifer Senior, author of All Joy No Fun, delivered an honest to goodness talk at TED of why raising happy kids is so elusive.


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