Five ways to teach your child about happiness
PARENTS have the task of guiding a child to achieve his own happiness in life.
It is essential to realise that you cannot make your child happy by merely satisfying all his needs and wants. The key is to be a positive role model and offer steadfast support.
You will need to lead by example, by looking to your own happiness. Here are five steps to help teach your child about happiness in life:
TALKING ABOUT HIS FEELINGS...
Teach your child how to recognise his emotions. You can help by paying attention to your child and helping him label his feelings. For example, "It looks like you are feeling sad because your friends forgot to invite you to play together", or "You look very excited about going to your friend's birthday party".
...COPING WITH DISAPPOINTMENTS
Help him keep things in perspective. Let him know that it's not the end of the world if he faces disappointments. Do what you can to rebuild his self-image and confidence with positive encouragement.
FOSTERING GOOD SOCIAL SKILLS
Guide your child on starting a friendship and nurturing it as he and his friends grow up.
One method is to help him understand that different people have different points of view.
Try describing other people's feelings and talk to him about how other people might feel as this helps him to develop empathy.
FINDING PLEASURE IN ACTIVITIES
Whenever your child takes part in activities, games or even studies, he should do so without expecting perfection. Go easy on him if he falls short of your expectations.
Your child should not rely only on praise as a motivating factor for him to achieve something. Instead of trying to motivate or push your child, try inspiring him to want to achieve his goal instead.
However, you should bear in mind that your child may be highly motivated to achieve certain goals that could be unrelated to school.
Dr M. Swamenathan is a consultant psychiatrist. This is an abridged version of a commentary that appeared on The Star newspaper website.