Today, we tackle Mistake #3: Putting Too Much Emphasis on BEING HAPPY
Your child’s happiness is important, but being happy should not be the main goal in your parenting. It will, however, be a result of doing what is right.
In the book 12 Huge Mistakes Parents Can Avoid, Tim Elmore explains that True satisfaction, for ourselves or our kids, comes from generosity, commitment and respect for the person in the mirror…When happiness is the goal instead of a by-product, it is elusive and disappointing….Our parenting goal should be to help our kids know how to make wise decisions. Happiness will follow. In fact, fulfillment will follow.
No parent wants to see their child unhappy. I’m sure that I used the phrase “I just want you to be happy” more than once to each of our three kids. Unfortunately, that is not effective parenting. Remember that happiness should be a by-product of wise choices, not a goal to be pursued at all costs.
This will be hard to hear, but parents need to be willing to sacrifice their child’s temporary happiness for long-term happiness. This is part of teaching them to be disciplined adults themselves. It’s way too easy for parents, teachers and coaches to focus on keeping kids happy and feeling as if life is fair.
Life is NOT fair. Your child may grow up and not get the job, the raise, the promotion they want. They may lose money, a bid on a house, a job, a friend. If your child is raised in an all-is-fair bubble, then they will not know how to cope with loss when they get older.
If happiness is the goal for our kids, we will create consumers who want and need more and more in order to make them happy. But if giving rather than receiving is the goal, happiness is almost always the result.
Elmore says that kids need to hear some key words from Mom and Dad:
Watch: your example is important.
Practice: working hard for a goal brings satisfaction.
No: It’s okay to be the parent and say it.
Wait: Appreciation and gratefulness grow when kids learn to wait for something they want.
Serve: Kids should learn to be contributors more than consumers.
The need to see your kids happy will push you to exhaust yourself trying to rescue your children and fix their problems. While it may provide temporary relief for certain situations, it’s guaranteed to result in long-term issues as your child grows to adulthood.