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10 Steps for Raising Happiness
I’m usually not one for doing a book review for a blog, but every once in a while, well, one comes along that is too good to pass up. No, I’m not talking about “50 Shades of Grey,” (though I’d be curious if you’ve read it), I’m talking about a parenting book of course – Raising Happiness.
The simplicity of the title and the cover picture of a young girl running, flying a kite under a clear blue sky drew me in. THAT is what I want for my child. I want those kind of simple days where there doesn’t seem to be a care in the world. I want the kind of joy that SHE creates for herself. I want her to feel strong, independent, and confident. Yes, I got this much just from the cover. Imagine what I got from the book!
Raising Happiness was published in 2010 by Christine Carter. What did I like so much about this book? First of all, I can easily pick it up, put it down, and dive back in to where I left off the next time I come back to it (in other words, it’s a read that CAN be accomplished by busy parents). It is also well organized, simply laying out “10 simple steps for more joyful kids and happier parents.”
So, what’s the scoop?
Here are the basics:
1. Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First. If you’ve flown, you’ve heard this before: “In the event of a change in air pressure, put on your own oxygen mask, before you put on your child's." In other words, you can’t take the best care of your little one unless you are taking the best care of yourself. Some may call this selfish. I call it smart.
2. Build a Village. The author of this book hasn’t led a perfect life. No one does. Divorced, she is the parent of two young children, but surviving and thriving in life. The trick? Build your village. My family lives a distance so our family is made up of mostly friends. Find what works for your family and engage their support.
3. Expect Effort and Enjoyment, Not Perfection.
4. Choose Gratitude, Forgiveness, and Optimism.
5. Raise Their Emotional Intelligence. Talk about how you feel. Ask children how they feel. Acknowledge and respect feelings such as mad, sad, etc. Talk with your child about what to do next time those feelings are present.
6. Form Happiness Habits. No, it’s not just about eating ice-cream. Think about rituals, traditions, and everyday happenings that are good for growth. Embrace, cherish, and celebrate.
7. Teach Self-Discipline. One of my favorite lines from the book: “…the goal is to preempt misbehavior rather than just react to it.”
8. Enjoy the Present Moment.
9. Rig Their Environment for Happiness. Choose caregivers, schools, and activities that are supportive of your parenting goals.
10. Eat Dinner Together. I must have been on to something a few weeks back.
And there you have it, 10 simple steps for raising happiness. Of course, it’s not always as simple as it sounds. Want to know more? I’d definitely recommend a read of the book.
Jeannie Fleming-Gifford is a mama to one little lady, freelance writer, and the director of education for a non-profit community school of the arts. Graduating with a B.A. in Music and a M.A. in Child Development, Jeannie began her career in quality child developme...Read More