Quit Making Your Kids Happy Right NOW!
Oooo, do I have your attention? I’m sure you all are a little confused right now. “Not make our kids happy? That's our JOB. We’re PARENTS. ” No, no it isn’t. See, when you focus on making your kids happy and keeping them that way there are a lot of things that can go awry. Maintaining the happiness of another is an exhausting task and quite futile since it actually cannot be done. Trying to fulfill this task can break people and here is why it needs to stop:
Kids Will Not Know How To Handle Disappointment
But there’s time for that. Disappointment. Childhood should be happy and care free. Kids should have fun. Leave the strife for adulthood, isn’t that what it’s there for? Ummmm, sooooo when do kids actually learn about being resilient and that things don’t always go their way? When will they discover how to be upset, feel it and then move on? Oh, right, they can do that later and just have fun now, they are kids ’n' all. The problem with all of this? Well, it leaves your kids at a disadvantage and more upset in the long run. Sometimes toys break (especially when you hit the wall while throwing said toy at your sisters head, phew it missed). Sometimes you get picked last for the team. Sometimes there is no blue cup in the house. You never HAD a blue cup. Why does she always want a blue cup? How does she even know that blue cups exist??? Why is she still screaming about the blue cuuuppp???
So what do you think happens when a kid is never unhappy or disappointed or frustrated? At what point do you allow these feelings in and how do you think it’s gonna pan out when they feel these emotions for the first time in their life at what? 9? 11? 14? It’s gonna be a SHIT SHOW. Kids NEEEEEEED the opportunity to be upset. They need to be upset that you can’t read to them at their desired moment when they are 3 years old. They need to feel frustrated that you won’t dress them at age 5 cause they have been dressing themselves since age 3 and a half. They need to feel angry that you won’t get them the toy that they want even though everyone else has it at age 7 and so on and so on. If we don’t let kids feel all that life has to offer from the beginning then when is the right time and what kind of a shock will it be to them when they leave their utopia and feel unpleasantness for the first time? Let’s give our kids the gift of resilience by letting them actually not be happy sometimes.
They Will Think Everything Is About Them
If we run around trying to keep kids happy all of the time they will think everything is about them and rightly so. That may not seem like a big deal right now but you KNOW folks who think that they are #1 right NOW, grown up folks, yes, we often do not like them very much. When we make 4 dinners to keep our kids happy, when we wash that shirt that they want to wear to school at 9:30 at night so they won’t get mad, when we give up our seat because they want to sit in it…. What do you think they're learning from this? Well, I’ll tell ya. They’re learning that the world revolves around them and their wants and their needs. They learn that THEY are the most important thing in the world. That their needs are number one. It’s gonna be rough when they grow up and try this out in school or the world outside of your home. Peers are not going to like this, school will not like this, jobs will not like this and in the end your child will be left confused and upset. Your children are not the center of the universe, they aren’t even the center of your family. (Gasp, did she say the kids aren’t the center of the family??) They might be at certain moments. When their best friend moves away or when they make the soccer team. Sure, it’s all about your kids, SOMETIMES but other times it will be someone else turn to be the center of attention and other times no one needs to be. Set your kids up for success by letting them be unhappy and disappointed. YUP!
They Will Not Learn How To be Patient
You are a loving and wonderful parent, you tend to your child’s every need and whim. They want water, you get it. They want a new show, you make it happen, they want something different for lunch, you make it. Sure you’re sick with a fever or have a dead-line or are speaking with your partner but all of that can wait. No, no it can’t. Your child can wait. Better yet, you can ask yourself, can my child do this for themselves? The answer will often be YES. If they are thirsty and they can reach the water, have them get it. If they want a book, have them get it. If they want a different lunch, have them make it and yup talking about your 4 and 5 year olds too. Give them a chance and they can do amazing things.
There is a misconception, myth, falsehoods being passed around that when a child says, “Excuse me” we need to stop talking. NOPE. It’s important for them to wait, to be patient. I’m assuming that none of your child's body parts are dangling off of them. If so, well then PLEASE let them jump in. Other than that, they can wait a moment. I’ll even say, “I need to tend to this right now but I want to hear you. I’ll come get you in 5 minuets and it will be your turn.” Will they be thrilled? HELL NO but that’s ok (remember, stop making them happy all of the time). You’ll teach your kids patience and that others have needs as well by having them wait a bit.
You Will Go Insane
You will go insane. No, really. Trying to keep a kid or two or three or more happy all of the time will end up making you mad. Like crazy mad. Like the March Hare/Mad Hatter mad. After a while you will feel depleted, unappreciated, and even may lose part of who you are. If all of your time is spent making your kids happy, how much time will be spent on making YOU happy? (Gasp, did she say that I could be HAPPY???) Your kids don’t like when you go out at night so you don't. Your kids only want a particular parent to give them a bath and put them to bed. Now that person will NEVER get an early evening. Your kids don't like when you go to the bathroom alone so you never do. Can you image how long before your brain explodes? As I always say, if we give all to our kids we will have nothing left to give. Nothing. At. Allll.
I am in NOOOOO way advocating that you to stop supporting, having fun with and taking care of your child. I am saying stop making their lives happy all of the time. You're putting them at a disadvantage. Think about all of the people who are constantly looking for happiness and forever coming up short. See, happiness isn’t something someone else gives us, it comes from within. When we appreciate what we have. When we are resilient and positive and believe in what we can do and what is to come, that is where we can find happiness. Teach your kids to find their own happy. Teach them that life isn’t always pleasant. It's sad, frustrating and sprinkled with disappointment BUT that doesn't mean that it isn’t great. Life is AWSOME and that rough stuff is part of the adventure and makes us who we are. You’re mentors, teach your kids that happiness doesn't come from what others do for you. Teach them that they are part of something bigger; A family, a community, a world. Teach them that sometimes it really IS someone else's turn. Give them the gift of life, real life, so that they are ready for those times when things don’t go their way. They won’t miss more than a beat or two before dusting themselves off and moving forward. That is what will make them truly happy in the long run and isn’t that what you REALLY want?