We’re happy to announce a new partner in parenting and youth services: ParentTV! This online resource offers short video tips from parenting experts, as well as blog posts and other material, all free with your Chandler Library card. This month’s featured blog post is on happiness and resilience, excerpted from the ParentTV blog.
Is Wanting Our Kids to Be Happy All the Time Actually Doing Them Damage?
If you ask a parent what they want for their children, they will probably say this: Health and happiness. No arguments here for the first one, but is the second a good idea? Why did securing happiness for our kids become a goal that we reached for above just about everything else? Everyone likes to be happy, that’s understandable. But, is it possible that all our efforts to help them be happy mean that they’re missing out on important learning in other, less pleasant emotional states? Maybe a little suffering could actually be a good thing…
Now, when we talk about suffering, what we’re meaning in this context is the experience of temporary negative or unpleasant emotions. This might be feeling angry, left out, sad, hurt, uncomfortable, inadequate, defeated or troubled. It could last an hour, a day or a week. If it goes beyond this, then it may not be a temporary state anymore, and the damage could be greater. But, when it is a temporary state, there’s learning in it, and the learning could actually make our children’s experience of happiness even richer by comparison.
Seeing and knowing what’s on the other side of the happiness coin contributes to their social and emotional growth by allowing them to develop empathy and perspective, says ParentTV expert and psychologist, Dr Vanessa Lapointe.
So, what else does the experience of unpleasant emotions teach our kids? Resilience, for one thing, says ParentTV expert and psychologist, Dr Jodie Lowinger, is built when kids are allowed to feel, sit with and move through feelings they find unpleasant, without trying to suppress them. When children see that they can and will come out the other side of a negative experience, they become more confident in their ability to cope the next time it happens. If we shield children from any unpleasantness, they don’t get the opportunity to learn just how much they are capable of managing, nor do they get the chance to develop the coping strategies that help them do it.
Read the full article at the ParentTV blog, or log in to ParentTV with your Chandler Public Library card number and PIN to view more videos on wellbeing topics such as Helping you understand your big crazy feelings with Dr Vanessa Lapointe.