Yes and no. Here’s the thing –
You want your child to be happy.
But you don’t want to make them happy.
The difference – When you WANT your child to be happy, that puts them in charge of their happiness. They figure out what brings them joy, they figure out what makes them smile. And as a parent, you are simply in charge of supporting them in their decisions. They learn from their mistakes, and are able to function in the outside world because of this early training. And everything you do, say, and provide will reinforce that idea.
But when you want to MAKE your child happy – that puts you in the driver’s seat, but since it’s impossible to know exactly what makes another person happy – you end up buying them everything, taking them everywhere, doing everything for them. Leaving them with no skills whatsoever to cope with the real world once they grow up. Without you as their guide, their happiness provider, they are lost. You basically cripple them if you are in charge of their happiness.
Instead – let them discover for themselves what makes them happy. And then let them do it. It might seem like the ‘permissible’ method of parenting, but it is the only way to assure them future happiness. You want to raise children who know themselves, know their likes and dislikes and feel assured of their place in the world. They need to learn the skills now, while they are young.
It’s your choice. What do you want for your children? Superficial happiness now with short term results, or deep, meaningful happiness for the long run?
Evelyn Cucchiara is an expert in all things kid & mess related. She owns two companies that take care of both – Art Adventures – offering weekly art classes for children starting as young as age 2, and The Toy Tamer – teaching kids the organizing skills they will need for the future – with the payoff being a clean, neat playroom for everyone right now. http://www.ArtAdventuresArtStudio.com
She also sends out her super helpful Sanity Saving Suggestions every Sunday night – you can sign up to receive them here: http://eepurl.com/bbOAQP