Happiness High Standards

I watched another TED Talk. One thing I love about a TED Talk is that because they are short, you can get a lot of information in a small amount of time. I generally watch them while I do my makeup in the mornings, and it’s a great way to utilize NET time (No Extra Time).

Today’s talk focused on the anxiety around parenting and how parenting has changed throughout history. The presenter, Jennifer Senior, discussed the massive amounts of information given to parents these days through various forms of media, regarding how to raise children. If you want a book on how to raise financially responsible children, there are books. If you want to learn how to get your kids to eat vegetables, there are thousands of Pinterest articles and recipes. You want to figure out your child’s sleep schedule, type that into google and there will be hundreds of “right ways” to do it, all of which on contradictory. This overload of information can lead to significant anxiety and confusion regarding what are the best options of how to raise your child. Even while doing research of how to improve my parenting, for this month’s happiness project, I found myself flooded with information.

And yet despite all the different approaches and strategies to raising children, the presenter states that parents generally, regardless of parenting style can all agree on one thing “all I want is my children to be happy.” How many times have we heard someone say this, or said it ourselves? We put all this pressure on ourselves to be the perfect parents, and what is all boils down to, is that we just want them to be happy.

But what really makes a child happy? Is it a pinterest-perfect birthday party where you are running around stressing about every detail, or is it just spending quality time with them doing their favorite activity? Is it running them to soccer, ballet, piano, lessons, or maybe just having a quiet (relatively quiet, I mean we’re talking about kids here) evening at home playing puzzles? In reality I think at its simplest, kids are pretty easy to make happy; meet their basic needs, tell them you love them, and just be present with them. Spend quality time; it doesn’t have to be anything fancy.

These days, the bar for “happiness” is set high for parents, and I think in many ways we have done it to ourselves. Not everything has to be Pinterest and social media worthy; Not everything has to be educationally stimulating while working on developing social skills and improving language. It can literally just be sitting and reading a book. Children want our attention and sometimes just spending quality time with your kid is enough.

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