Raising Happy Kids: Tips From Dr. Happy
Originally published on Scholastic.com
Everyone has his or her own definition of happiness.
Dr. Timothy Sharp, who prefers the title Dr. Happy, helps families define their version of “happy.” On July 18, the clinical psychologist, chief happiness officer at The Happiness Institute in Australia, and bestselling author of 100 Ways to Happy Children: A Guide for Busy Parents, answered questions on our Facebook wall about the importance of boosting joy in children at home and in school and doled out advice about teaching kids to self-regulate.
Missed the live chat? Read our recap below to find out how to make sure there is a healthy dose of “happy” in your family’s life.
Q: How do you discipline your children while still maintaining a sense of happiness and joy?
Dr. Happy: Discipline is vitally important, as it teaches children boundaries and what’s right and wrong. I’m not talking about physical punishment, necessarily, but it is important to note that when I talk about raising “happy” children, I’m talking about helping them to live a “good life” in the long term. This may mean not always getting what they want in the short term. One of the other key “strategies” for raising happy children is giving them your time. There is nothing more powerful than positive attention from a parent.
Q: Is there a problem with kids who need instant gratification?
Dr. Happy:“Instant gratification” is normal for younger children up until a certain age when their brains are developed enough to start to think a bit longer term (somewhere around ages 5 to 8, probably). So up until then we need to accept that this is just how kids are. But we can also start to plant the seed and give them opportunities to “practice” delayed gratification. You can do this in small ways like offering him what he wants now, or what he wants plus something else if he can wait an hour/day/week, depending on what it is. Over time, most children will develop the skill and recognize that waiting can sometimes be better.
Read the full interview here.
Photo credit: Ctd 2005