According to the Harvard researchers, “Even though most parents and caretakers say that their children being caring is a top priority, often children aren’t hearing that message.”
It goes back to spending time to find out what’s going in your child’s life. Check with teachers, coaches, tutors, and other caretakers. Find out if there is a shift in behavior. Allow your child to feel comfortable to come and speak with you. Your child needs to hear that he/she is top priority in your life. It’s not enough to show them by giving them things, keeping them safe, or feeding them. Children require acknowledgment through words. Words are important. Invite them to sit and share their stories about school, homework, friends, and so on.
One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is the ability to analyze and solve problems. Trust your child to decide for himself what he wants. You cannot solve their issues all the time. It’s healthy to allow them to experience life through their own lenses. Achievement is important and, in allowing them to determine what they want, you are gifting them awareness.
You want to help raise your child to become a productive adult. Allow him/her to come to you and share their problems and guide them to make the best possible choices. It’s difficult to step back as a parent and watch your child make a mistake. But just like you, it’s part of learning and the evolution of our humanness. You want them to be happy for what they have done, and not just to make you happy as a parent.
Rick Weissbourd, who conducted the study says, “We are hyper-focused on our kid’s happiness. I wasn’t surprised that happiness was ranked the highest, but I was surprised that achievement was ranked so high.” Are we pushing our children to focus only on success? “The achievement pressure can have a bunch of negative results,” says Weissbourd, who is co-director of the Making Caring Common project. “I’m concerned that it makes kids less happy.”