According to a study, people who perceived their parents as less psychologically controlling and more caring as they were growing up were likely to be happier and more satisfied adults. There are huge advantages of having a solid, caring and warm foundation versus the mind games and emotional blackmail tactics usually employed by parents of yore and perhaps even now. Only a mother knows how to instill gnawing guilt and a father’s disapproval can crush even the most accomplished adult.
That being said, if we the parents are the products of overcontrolling parents, how can we be expected to raise happy adult-children? Would we even know how? Children learn what they live, and I, like many, learned the direct opposite of a caring and warm environment.
So, being an avid believer in modeling behavior, I decided I needed to learn how to be happy. This seemed a rather odd goal because I didn’t consider myself to be unhappy, but I wasn’t necessarily happy. Sure, things were good, but I always found myself pressed for time, worried about something or rushing to do everything. My responsibilities as a mom, wife and worker always seemed to get in the way of just being happy, or more important, I let those things get in the way of my happiness.
The takeaway is that the No. 1 most important thing any parent can do to nurture their child’s happiness, contentment and confidence as an adult is to show them not only how to do all those things, but what it looks like.