If you’re like most parents around the world, I think you’d agree that raising kids who grow into happy people is your topmost hope and aspiration.
In a survey spanning 7 countries, Fisher Price asked 3,500 prenatal and post-natal moms what matters the most in giving their kids the best possible start in life.
The results revealed that no matter where the mother was raising her kids around the world, the number one aspiration they had was raising kids who grow into happy people.
The survey also revealed that one of the most important qualities that moms wanted their child to develop was kindness.
Not a surprise here. Nobody wants a jerk for a child, young or grown.
The trillion dollar question that then begs an answer is:
Having the wish, hope and aspiration of raising kids who grow into happy people is indeed desirable.
But what is more desirable than having the wish to raise a happy and kind human is the willingness to put in the work required to bring about such a result.
The intentional work that you, as a parent are going to put in to instill character traits that will make your child a happy person is the answer to the trillion dollar question above.
The Happy Factor Foundation
I always like to see the life of my kids as a house that my spouse and I, as parents, are building.
Or to put it in the context of this article, the happiness of your kid is the house you’re building.
To build this house, we need to ensure that we have put in place a solid foundation.
We could also liken our kids’ happiness in the real world they will enter after they leave our home to a long trip in a foreign country.
As a parent would you take a child’s trip preparations for granted?
Or would you make sure he or she starts preparing months in advance? Of course you would ensure your child is well prepared.
You’d probably take days off from work to help with the packing.
The same applies to laying the foundation for your children’s happiness or preparing them for life in the real world.
Taking Things For Granted
Even though most parents instinctively want their kids to be happy and kind people, few take for granted the amount of work involved.
As a result of ignorance or just plain laziness, most parents neglect to put in the work required.
The result is that instead of raising kind and happy people, they raise first class unhappy jerks that nobody wants to be around.
As caring parents that are rooting for our kids’ success, we can’t afford to take for granted the following fact.
This is true whether you are a white, black, yellow, green or brown parent living in New York, Shanghai, London or Zambia.
Now for the actual work
Here’s a brief description of the work that’s gonna be required of us as parents to achieve that heavenly goal of raising kids who will grow into happy people.
#1: Teach Kids The Value Of Hard Work & Effort
Nothing satisfying to the human soul is achieved without application of effort to the best of one’s ability.
True happiness comes from achieving satisfaction that only comes from doing something at one’s best level.
To become best at anything requires effort.
A lot of it.
So if we’re going to be successful in raising kids that grow into happy people, it means we have to instill in them a solid work ethic.
One desirable side effect of having a solid ethic is that it leads to a person being really good at what they do.
Being really good at something goes hand in hand with earning a lot of money. Lack of money just also happens to be one of the leading causes of unhappiness in most adults alive today.
#2: Make A Big Deal About Any Act Of Kindness
Gary Vaynerchuk or Gary Vee is arguably one of the hardest driving entrepreneurs of our time.
His company, VaynerMedia, is a wildly successful digital media powerhouse. The firm is famously known for its culture where co-workers hugging is an everyday phenomenon.
Gary Vee is well known for his in your face, no nonsense brushness when it comes to business.
He is also famously known as the kindest business leaders alive.
Gary attributes his kindness to the way his mom raised him.
Gary says his mother made a huge deal out of his and his sisters’ acts of kindness.
He says that once, when he was a little boy he opened the door to a store for a lady.
Gary says his mom praised him for a whole two weeks for that act.
I have started the habit of asking my daughters what acts of kindness they performed at school.
It was hard for them to answer at first but now I see its getting easier for them. It looks like they’re going out their way to be kind.
They’re doing so just so they can have an answer for me at the end of the day.
#3: Teach Them Delayed Gratification
One of the most notorious robbers of happiness among modern humans is debt.
Show me a person who is happy that they are in debt and I will show you are first class liar.
Debt – outside mortgage debt in most cases – is the result of a desire to have things that one can not afford to pay for when they want those things.
Teaching kids to delay gratification all through their childhood is one sure way to set them to be happy and successful in their adult lives.
How does a parent teach delayed gratification?
Make a promise to do something for the kids at a later time or date if the kids agree to do something.
Then follow though with doing it.
Start with short time frames and then increase the time frames.
For example you could tell he kids that if you don’t watch TV today, tomorrow you’ll go for a movie or something like that.
Kids that are trained to delay gratification tend to grow into happier more fulfilled adults with a success score in all areas of life greater than those kids who did not receiving similar training.
#4: Teach Them To Be Considerate Of Others
Raising kids that grow into happy adults comes out of the kids understanding that the needs of others matter.
Such a structure will be solid. No winds will move it.
Seemingly routine things such as training kids to wipe their pee off the toilet seat should they mess it are the things that instill consideration of others.
When viewed from the lens of building a life foundation, such mundane tasks as cleaning up after oneself take a completely more important meaning.
#5: Teach Them To Have The Preparation Mindset
Teaching kids to have the mindset that, whatever they do they are in preparation, sets them up to successfully enter the real world.
Having an always preparing mindset makes kids value everything they do no matter how routine or mundane.
When kids put value on mundane tasks it gives them the motivation to do their very best work.
A person who grows up doing the very best he or she can do on any task will win any contest against against somebody who who didn’t grow up the same way.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a job interview contest, a business contract contest or a sporting contest. The person who grew up with an always preparing mindset will always be the winner.
Having an always preparing mindset also helps mitigate the frustrations that come when kids learn new things.
So when a child is frustrated by something they haven’t mastered yet, I always tell them not to worry because they are just preparing to be good at it. That takes off the pressure of being successful and they focus on the process.
#6: Set The Right Expectations About Life
If you had a long trip planned, it’s highly likely that you’d take time to prepare for all the things you will need on the trip.
If you were going outside the country, it will indeed be stupid for you to intentionally leave your passport at home.
The right expectations about life are to a kid’s life what a passport is to a would be traveler. The only difference is that if you leave your passport at home you can go back to get it.
With your child’s life, if she leaves your home without having been given the right expectations about life, there is no going back to childhood for training.
She is set for a life of unhappiness and struggle.
Here is list of some expectations that should be set right for a kid throughout childhood into the teens until she/he leaves your home