5 Surefire Ways to an Unhappy Kid
So often we spend our time as parents trying to do things to MAKE our kids happy. As if that is even possible. I mean how many of us have been at Disneyland-the Happiest Place on Earth- and seen kids crying, throwing fits and basically miserable. So give up now! You can’t MAKE your kid happy!
But there are 5 surefire ways that kids will be unhappy. I’ve had experience with every one of these things, either with my own kids or with my friends children and the results are in. So if you want have unhappy kids just do the following:
1. No limits to electronic use. Research published in both the New York Post and Phychology Today show that electronic screen time, especially in young children, can make kids moody and lazy and have lasting impact on brain development. For the full article, click here. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/mental-wealth/201508/screentime-is-making-kids-moody-crazy-and-lazy
2. No set bedtimes and inadequate sleep. Our bodies work on a circadian rhythm, an internal 24 hour clock that manages our bodies hormone levels including our sleep and waking times. Bodies love predictability and routine, and when our kiddos are sleep deprived (according to the National Sleep Foundation 25-30% of children and adolescents are sleep deprived), their circadian rhythm is compromised and this can lead to a ton of consequences. They are grumpy-which we all know from experience when junior missed a nap-their mental clarity is less, they tend to lose interest in activities and they can even gain weight! For a recommendation on how much sleep your kids need based on age, click here. http://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/En/News/NewsAndFeatures/Pages/Growing-consequences-of-not-enough-sleep.aspx
3. No responsibility or expectations. When kids aren’t able to contribute to their world, a.k.a. their families, through chores or responsibilities, they start to feel like they don’t really matter. Somebody else can do it–they become entitled. But when they know they are expected to contribute and that those contributions actually matter-you will see them step up and become more responsible. It takes time and commitment not to step in and save the day, but you can do it Mom and Dad! I know, it’s hard not to go back and re-do the job perfectly, but we aren’t raising a clean toilet, we are raising responsible kids. For more age appropriate info on chores and how they can create a responsible kid, click here. https://psychcentral.com/lib/do-chores-teach-children-responsibility/
4. No accountability. When kids mess up and let mom and dad bail them out it leads to unhappiness. One of my favorite books is ‘The Gift of Failure’ by Jessica Lahey. When I started to implement techniques from this book in my kids lives, my friends thought I was nuts. I stopped running forgotten homework to the school, didn’t write a note for a tardy that was due to snoozing the alarm, and let me son miss an important lacrosse game when he didn’t come home on time. I felt like I was failing my kids. But guess what? Because they were accountable for the consequences, they learned and guess who didn’t miss another game, took homework to school and wasn’t tardy again? So by doing nothing, I was actually doing the best thing for them. And I then had more time to sit back and relax. Win, win! https://www.amazon.com/Gift-Failure-Parents-Children-Succeed/dp/0062299255
5. Be told you are perfect every day of your life. When you are told over and over that you are ‘special’ or elite, or somehow better than your peers, you start to believe that you are entitled to special treatment. But the reality is that no matter how amazing we think our kids are, in most areas of life they are average. I know, blow to our egos. They can’t all be pro basketball players, win America’s Got Talent, or be the President of the United States. And the more we puff them up, the less likely they are to work hard and strive, instead expecting the world to owe them something-like a participation trophy even when their team takes dead last. And without that hard work or drive to improve, they will forever feel inadequate, despite our attempts to inflate their self worth. Check out this great video for more insights into overpraising our kids. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g27nbbE2BBM
Bottom line? As parents we can’t MAKE our kids happy or sad, but we can help guide them away from the pitfalls of life that will almost certainly guarantee unhappiness.