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Happiness vs Living

When you ask a parent what they want most for their child is, the answer is almost always, happiness.

We all want our children to be happy. To be healthy humans who enjoy their lives and live happily ever after.

But, if you think about it a little deeper, is happiness really what is BEST for your child?

Is it that we really want for our children?

To live a life full of positive moments, without any hardship, pain or suffering?

In an ideal world, the answer could be yes, of course, but as we know, human beings are not built that way.

We are born with a spectrum of emotions that NEED to be felt from time to time, balancing us and regularly reminding us that we are human, that we are alive.

We’re not robots or machines, programmed to work in a particular fashion, to produce particular results. We try things and fail and push boundaries and overcome struggles and have crises and so on.

So if we know this why do we mistake happiness with living?

As parents we take the role of happiness providers quite seriously. Punishing ourselves when our child falls down and punishing them for making us feel inadequate.

We buy them all the things they “need” to be happy and we tell them all the things we think they need to hear, in order to smile and not worry.

But what happens when we’re not there. Temporarily or permanently, how does this human find happiness, if the person providing the happiness is not around to provide it?

We think that the focus needs to be reconsidered.

Rather than wanting happiness for our children, maybe we focus on encouraging our child to simply… just...live.

This sounds a little obvious, but stay with it for a minute.

Let’s say instead of putting all your parenting efforts behind how you create a happy child, you focus on encouraging your child to live their life to its fullest potential.

Encourage the use of all the emotions available to human kind and facilitate for them both physically and emotionally.

Promote risk and challenge and struggle. Unpack fears and traumas, both yours and theirs, and discuss self exploration and growth.

Hold them accountable, make them responsible for their actions, set clear and healthy boundaries.

Show them evolution, development, learning and lead by example.

Basically, consider how you can best equip this person for all of the experiences that may arise, so they can live life in the most empowering way possible.

If we focus on the ideal outcome, you're teaching a child that anything outside that is less valuable and meant to be avoided. This is simply untrue.

An athlete will struggle for months training for a competition. Pushing themselves out of their comfort zone, having failures and breakthroughs and setbacks along the way. But all of these moments prepare them to take part in the competition and reach their goals.

Happiness cannot be the ideal and cannot be felt in isolation. In a world where we have instant gratification almost always, we’re not allowing ourselves to balance our emotions.

The minute we’re bored, sad, frustrated, anxious, we unlock our phones and immediately feel the dopamine hit.

We go on social media and feel validated and identified. We watch YouTube videos and the entertainment makes us feel at peace and in harmony with our lives , escaping stress and anxiety. When we don’t have the answers, we Google for information and then feel purposeful, resourceful, relevant.

The gap between a challenge and a victory is a couple of seconds between…

For our children to evolve from early childhood mental health disorders and teenage suicide, we must realign our values as parents. We must re-establish our relationship with living and be the connection between knowledge and experience with supporting our children through a holistic approach to living, not one that is skewed towards just the one emotional range.

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