How to help your kids finding happiness

Written on Monday, June 2nd, 2008 at 11:17 am by Christiane

Every time I ask my students about their goals for the next ten years, they put starting a family and raising happy children at the top of their priority list. Only – until now there wasn’t much known about what actually makes children happy. More toys, better video games, a bigger house and/or garden, parents who would stay together, good grades, sports……?Psychologists at the University of British Columbia in Canada are saying all of the above doesn’t count much when it comes to happiness in children.

According to the answers of more than 300 children aged 9 to 12, the answer to the quest for happiness is Spirituality.

Children, who got high happiness marks by their parents and teachers, gave high importance ratings for statements like “I believe that a higher power watches over me” or “developing meaning in my life”.

Spirituality is in the study defined as having an inner-belief system and is not the same as religion. Consequently, attending church had no bearing for the happiness level of the children in the study.

Other factors that influenced the level of happiness in children have been social activities, sports and temperament.

Many psychologists today believe that temperament is the inborn part of personality, and for example being an optimist or a pessimist is a factor of temperament. Simplified, whether you view a glass as half full or half empty is inherited to a certain extent.

Still, even if someone is born as pessimist, it’s possible to modify the outlook:

Ask yourself (or ask your child) at bedtime what positive things happened during the day and what you are grateful for. Research shows that focusing on the positive will make you happier over time and is good for your health. Read on:

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