Have you ever noticed the irony in the delivery of that sentiment? It is declared with a defeated and downtrodden tone following a disappointment.
Okay let’s get ahead of the frown-down curve here and flip it over.
Parents, we can influence our little Charlie Brown’s outlook and attitude by creating a happier home-base. Let’s first do a little self-reflection and evaluation.
Ask yourself these 10 questions to increase the family happiness factor.
1. How do I interact with my child during the first five minutes we are together? Do I look him in the eyes? Do I smile? Do my non-verbals communicate, I’m glad he is in my life?
James Dobson has said the first five minutes people are together sets the tone for the rest of the time.
So…smile when you see your child.
2. How would I describe my personal affect? Positive, negative, indifferent? Jealous, envious of others? Grumpy, complaining? Kids will mirror the parent’s emotions.
So…be positive about and content in your circumstances.
3. Do I express my love for my child daily? Security and belonging are basic needs. Kids need to know our love for them is secure and unconditional.
4. How do I speak to my child? Do I use a loud aggressive, demanding voice or a calm, controlled, quieter voice to deliver important messages? The quieter voice the more important the message and the more respectful the delivery.
So…use a softer voice.
5. Do I include fun in our family? Is family life all about tasks and “have to dos”? If so, stop. Carve out time for enjoyment. It doesn’t have to be a big expensive activity or a ton of time consuming undertakings. Play a family game. Make a meal together. Sing and dance to a song, be goofy.
So…spend non-task oriented time together.
6. After my child has performed or participated in something, do I only ask or comment about the outcome? (Who won? Did you score? What was your grade?) Ask about the experience instead with questions like,“How did it go?” By only focusing on the results, children begin to believe love is conditional.
So be…interested in the process.
7. Do I enjoy my child’s successes, efforts, and undertakings with him? Even though motivation is internal, another’s external delight can be the fuel one needs to move forward.
8. Do I compare my child to another? “How did Gavin do on the test? I know he really studied for it.” And if I really want to suck the wind out of my kid’s sails, I’ll toss in a sibling or two into the competition. “Your brother always did well at…” Each person has his own strengths and weaknesses, gifts, talents, personality, and abilities. No one can do everything well or perfectly. Failure isn’t life or death. It is an opportunity to learn perseverance and humility. And perhaps a time to learn reliance on the Lord.
So…celebrate the uniqueness of your child.
9. What do I typically talk with my child about? His chores, assignment deadlines or his life? Rather I should have a conversation with my child about who he sat next to at lunch, what is his favorite type of music, what he thought about a particular assignment at school, which friend he relates to best.
So…talk about life.
10. How often is laughter heard in our home? I want my child to enjoy being with me. I want to have a relationship that lasts a lifetime with my kids.
Ultimately, we cannot control our child’s mood. But even the Eeyore in our life will be impacted by a mom or dad’s happy disposition. Having a positive base makes dealing with the disappointments a lot more bearable. (Qualifier: I’m not saying downplay a child’s struggle or frustrations. And I’m not saying don’t express empathy or sympathy.)
Do I want my kids to be happy?
Of course. Who doesn’t?
Do I want my kids to view home-life to be a happy and safe place?
A happy place is a spot I love returning too.
He who heeds the word wisely will find good,
and whoever trusts in the Lord, happy is he.
Proverbs 16:20 (NKJV)
What things do you do to create a loving and joyful environment?
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