Have you ever wished that parenting came with a guidebook? We often feel we are on our own navigating the ups and downs of parenthood. It is common for parents to compare their parenting approaches to other parents who seem to have it all together and are “winning the race” to raise happy, healthy, successful adults. While there are a variety of parenting practices that can lead to positive child development, some interesting research highlights key factors on how parents’ own happiness levels impacts their children and overall family life
One example is that parents frequently do too much for their children and not enough with them. Parents may be so busy scheduling piano lessons, tennis lessons, and tutoring sessions that they feel unable to spend actual time with their child. Parents who are able to spend quality time with their child each week, even in small doses, report higher levels of parent satisfaction. Additionally, happier parents generally allow the relationship with their children to evolve based on the child’s age and their increasing need for independence. While this process (known in psychology banter as the separation-individuation phase during adolescence) can be painful at times for both parent and child, it is a necessary step for child’s overall growth and ability to eventually launch.
Happier parents also consider their own needs as well as those of their children. It is just as important for parents to pursue their own hobbies, have “date nights,” and time alone as it is juggling the scheduling of their child’s activities, monitoring their academics, and helping them process the various stressors in our complex world. Also, such parents tend to appreciate the positive moments with their children and not just focus on the challenges and the hurdles of parenting.
Check out the following article “Happier Parents Do These 10 Things” to learn more about some fundamental principles in becoming a happier parent.