EducationFamily & kids

How to raise a happy child in the 21st century: 9 tips from a psychologist

In an effort to educate leaders and geniuses, parents try different methods and techniques. For the happiness and psychological health of the child, something else is needed.


Parenting has changed over the past 10-15 years. The requirements for modern mothers and fathers are higher. And the children became different, accelerated in everything. That is how they are born. They develop faster, master everything faster, feel more subtle. It is in this that one needs to invest labor, time, love, sow the seeds of cognitive interest and thirst for movement. And then wonderful fruits of your efforts await the child in the future.

1. Be interesting for the child

As soon as you stop in your development, the child immediately loses interest in you as a source. In this sense, children are the best teachers for adults, motivators and a reason to improve. Do not dismiss questions, learn new things together, pull up your own knowledge and share it with your child, discuss with him. And then, even in a difficult period of puberty, you will remain an authority for your son or daughter.

Why is transitional age dangerous? Teens are attracted to strength and authority. And if they are not in the family, they will find them somewhere else, and more often than not it will be a dubious or even dangerous source. Authority must be won not through punishment, but through communication, through sincerity and openness, creating a safe space of trust and unconditional love. If the significance and authority of the parent falls, the child simply “leaves” the family space. And then it is already useless to moralize, talk about good and bad, threaten and demand. This is no longer upbringing, but going beyond the boundaries of parent-child relationships.


2. Become a source of information

Children need information. Hence the interest in tablets, laptops, smartphones. For parents, gadgets make life easier. But children, especially at the age of 2-3 years old, easily get hooked on them, addiction is formed. The trouble is that access to information through this channel is very simple, which means that its value is nominal. The world is becoming not wider, but narrower. And most importantly, what kind of world is it? Virtual, which means far from real.


Accessibility kills interest. What was the value of knowledge a hundred years ago? It was difficult to obtain them. To achieve something in the information field, it was necessary at least to work hard, reach the library, shovel a huge amount of literature, comprehend and isolate the essence. And now it is enough for a child to make two clicks to get everything on a silver platter, or rather on a tablet.

It is you, not the tablet, who should become a source of new and interesting things for the child

Spending little effort and resources, the child gets used to the fact that the world owes him. The reaction to refusals or the inability to quickly get what you want is manifested in misunderstanding and aggression, which in results in a conflict with parents.

Therefore, it is you, and not the tablet, who should become a source of new and interesting things for the child. He must look at the animals not on the screen of the gadget, but in the zoo, where his mom and dad took him. Develop your horizons through movement, curiosity. This forms the communication system. Otherwise, how will he learn to interact with the world if he sees it only on the tablet screen?

3. Develop emotional intelligence

Even when the child is very small, you need to teach him to express desires and needs at least by imitation of words. In older preschool age, be sure to name and pronounce emotions, help children master the vocabulary of feeling. For example: “I am sad”, “I am hungry”, “I am tired”, “I am unpleasant”, “I am upset”, “I am happy.” Did the child fall and hurt himself? Take your time to hug and regret. Let him show whatever he feels. This is a huge event in his small life. This is how you teach him to communicate. “I feel – I say – it’s safe.” Here is an important chain of meaning to be formed at an early age.


Learn to feel with your child. Don’t just turn on the TV for him, but sit down and watch the cartoon together. Watch him, participate in the processes of living the plot. After a while, you can return to the discussion by examining the emotional resource. Share your experience: “I was scared when I watched this cartoon for the first time as a child.” This is a great opportunity to study you, to embrace a different experience.

Stop living in the body’s safety system, forgetting about feelings


Teaching a child to express emotions is one of the most important functions of a parent. All the grievances that we “drag” into adulthood, from the inability to explain what we feel and what we want. An unpleasant discovery may happen: it turns out that with the help of manipulations and grievances, not everything can be achieved, and this causes painful, loss of meaning, the consciousness of the victim is formed (“no one understands me”, “the whole world against me”).

We are used to thinking: well-fed means happy. This is an anachronism. You need to stop living in the body’s security system, forgetting about feelings. The suppression of the sensory sphere leads to the fact that the teenager does not understand who he is and what he is interested in. Parents run to a psychologist: “He wants nothing, is not interested in anything.”

Did you just see him yesterday for the first time? Do you even know this half-grown man? Why is he closed in himself? Because they did not listen to him, did not allow to express feelings, did not ask for opinions, did not allow making decisions, humiliated and suppressed, did not listen to desires. And now you want him to become an adult overnight and magically learn all this, in one day after a sincere conversation with his parents? Alas, it will not work.

4. Do not substitute material for spiritual

Modern parents cannot spend much time with their children and try to compensate for the lack of communication with material things: new sneakers, tablets, toys. Hence the spoiledness. In fact, this is a cry for love, a demand to receive and express it. Having received a refusal in the “want and give” satisfaction, the child say it as “they do not like me.” Do not substitute or confuse the concepts of love and care with material substitutes. Share the feelings and needs of the ego.

You don’t have to spend all your time with your child. It is important to surround him with attention every day. Let it be just an hour a day, but just a wonderful hour. Make it a rule to devote at least 12% of your time every day to something new: learning new information about the world, physical activity, emotions, knowledge, music.

5. Listen to your child

Everyone should know that they will be heard and understood. Even if there are seven children in a family, everyone should have time for personal communication with their mother, at least an hour a week. The time when mom exists only for him, when he completely owns mom’s attention. Call it Mom’s Day or Mom’s Hour (and Dad’s of course). This is how the child learns to plan his life: “I can speak out, mom / dad will listen and give advice.” This should continue into adolescence.

You cannot talk to your child while going about your business: cooking, cleaning, ironing, watching the news. In this case, you turn your back on your son or daughter, which means you turn away from his problems and worries. No matter what happens, eye contact ensures safety.

6. Let your child enjoy childhood

Developing courses, sections, circles, preparation for school, many are fixated on the idea of ​​raising a child as a genius, a leader. In the 18th-19th centuries, there were no baby clubs, but even without them, writers, artists and scientists appeared. Let your child live his childhood organically and find himself.

A preschooler should have 70% (!) Of free time. This is the very time when he begins to create and fantasize. Without a creative element, you will grow a biorobot with an installed program.

7. Keep your word

It is unlikely that someone needs to be explained that it is impossible to raise a hand against a child. As for the punishments-threats, if you do not follow them, they lose their power. When setting frames, be consistent and follow through. Speak once, do the second.

Many parents only promise: “If you misbehave, let’s go home.” If you don’t, your words will be worthless. The child will simply be “noisy” with endless threats. Words should be backed up by action: “We are leaving because you are screaming.” But before you threaten, think ten times.

8. Let him be wrong

A happy child can be recognized by how fearlessly he makes mistakes, looks for options and solutions, joins in everything with enthusiasm and curiosity, without fear of being ridiculed or humiliated. How is it formed? Only by the wisdom and warmth of adults and teachers.

Finnish teachers, when they see that an example has been solved incorrectly, say: “What a wonderful mistake.” Without mistakes, you cannot find the right solution. And when they are scolded for them, it simply overrides all cognitive motives.

9. Just love the child

It’s easier than it sounds. The main thing you can do is just love and talk about it. Do not be afraid to overlove: there cannot be too much love. Do not sell love for being an obedient, intelligent, cultured, but simply comfortable child. This forms a neurotic type of worldview, lowered self-esteem. The child begins to ask himself: “Am I worthy of love / candy / high salary?” Ultimately, this translates into an inferiority complex and life troubles.

Photo by Getty Images

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