Dr Amanda Gummer Says... Mum
Dr. Amanda Gummer has dedicated her life to working with children and families in a variety of settings since 1993. As well as running a family support charity in London and teaching children...
How to have happy kids!
Happy Children - a how to (and not to) guide
There’s nothing as heartwarming as the sound of children’s laughter, and we all want our children to be happy, but it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and make decisions that may result in short term pleasure, but that could compromise a child’s longer term well-being and happiness.
People tend to feel happy when they feel safe (fear is a more base emotion than pleasure, so it’s almost impossible to feel happy if you’re afraid or anxious). Children need to feel safe, not just protected from physical harm, but emotionally safe. Consistent boundaries and a stable home life are key to helping children feel secure and it is this security that allows them to develop the relationships that facilitate happiness and protect against mental health issues such as depression.
With the summer holidays upon us and the children around more, it is natural that parents want to let their children enjoy the break from school. Whilst ice creams and summer holiday treats produce short-term mood boosts, unless there is an underlying well-being, they will never be enough to make a child truly happy.
Feeling in control of your life has a positive effect on mental health and children can start to take responsibility for small aspects of their lives from an early age. From choosing what clothes to wear or what book to read, to helping make bigger decisions such as which friend to play with and what activities they want to do. Taking control of our lives suddenly as we leave home can be daunting if we’ve had no practice. Instead of mollycoddling children and attending to their every need, parents need to help children prepare for a lifetime of emotional well-being and not be too quick to deprive them of the opportunity to learn, bit by bit to manage their own happiness.