I think we can all agree we want our kids to be happy. When they’re happy, everyone’s happy! Their mood determines the mood of everyone in the home. When they’re sad, sick, or angry, everyone feels down. But what if I told you that it’s not your job to make your children happy?
For me, that’s a relief! It’s like a weight is lifted off my shoulders that I never wanted to carry in the first place but felt obligated to. Sure, I always want to be there for my children, and I always will. But I also want them to grow up to be able to handle anything that comes their way — to develop strength, perseverance, and tenacity.
I watch moms run themselves ragged taking their kids to activity after activity, planning a week full of playdates, and always saying, “YES” to avoid the negative response to the ever-dreaded “NO!” I don’t know if the idea behind the constant activity is to keep kids so busy they don’t have time to feel a wide-range of emotions or if the kids truly enjoy the busyness, but either way, we must learn that our role as parents goes much deeper than ensuring our children’s complete satisfaction.
We forget that negative emotions are what allow us to truly appreciate the positive emotions and to experience growth and maturity within our mental health. If we are constantly suppressing negative feelings, there is no way for our children to learn contentment when it comes to the complexity of life they are bound to face when we are no longer there to protect them.
It’s a fact that college campuses who offer counseling services are completely overwhelmed with students using their services. Without learning how to cope with their emotions, students find negative feelings taking control over their lives. Feeling offended by microaggressions, trying to constantly stay politically correct, and avoiding all forms of discomfort are just a few reasons college students are struggling once they are apart from their family and out on their own.
So how can we be sure we are equipping our children to become well-rounded, confident, emotionally competent adults?
Here are a few tips from some of our past Life As Mama articles:
1. Create a calming corner in your home for children to self-regulate their emotions and find their peace.
2. Stop all the “doing,” and remember to be a mother who is present with her children.
3. Lead a slower lifestyle.
4. Practice implementing responsibility-centered discipline.
5. Hone in on teaching your children their strengths so they can feel confident about what they can offer this world.
Remember, it’s not your job to solve all your child’s problems. But it IS your job to equip them to do so. Follow some of the tips above and start encouraging your children to feel a variety of emotions and experience a well-rounded life rather than only allowing happiness and joy into their hearts.
Tell us in the comments, how does it feel to not be responsible for making your child happy?