Posts Tagged ‘Kids’

Achieving Happiness: Ability to connect to others established in childhood

Friday, August 29th, 2008


 Love is a key ingredient of happiness. Having people in your life that care about you provides a deep feeling of security. Being in a relationship in which you and your partner are meeting one another’s needs is tremendously satisfying. However, there are several varieties of love – only one of which makes people happy.

Recently, researchers have provided an understanding of how an unhealthy pattern of parent-child love adversely affects an adult relationship. The attachment between a parent and child has been well researched. But it has only been in the last few years that researchers have found a way to help adults with a history of dysfunctional relationships have a healthy loving connection.

The research has revealed three patterns of parent-child attachment. Children have two basic drives – exploration and safety – that govern their behavior. Kids need to explore and their playful pursuits help them gain the skills they need for mastering their environment. But children also need to stay safe in order to survive.

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I have an idea that might make the world a happier place.

Try to smile at every child, even tiny babies, whenever they make eye contact with you.  Maybe that child will grow to feel like the world is a welcoming, optimistic place.  Maybe it will help that child grow up to be a happier person than he or she would otherwise.


Happiness is … not having children?

Monday, May 12th, 2008

The belief that children and money will bring people happiness is one of life’s abiding illusions, a Sydney conference attended by 2000 seekers of happiness was told yesterday.

The scientific evidence shows people are very bad at predicting what will make them happy, said Daniel Gilbert, a professor of psychology at Harvard University and the author of the book Stumbling On Happiness. He said people’s happiness goes into steep decline after they have children, and never recovers its old level until the children leave home. As a source of pleasure, playing with one’s offspring rates just above doing housework but below talking with friends, eating, or watching TV, research has shown.

Yet people invest so much time and money in their children, and focus on the fleeting moments of joy they bring, rather than on the long periods of boredom and irritation, that most continue to believe children will bring them happiness, Professor Gilbert said.

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Bhutan – The Conscience of Gross National Happiness

Tuesday, May 6th, 2008

[...] It’s a country of people who believe in Gross National Happiness rather than Gross National Product. They understand that acquiring “stuff” does not make one happy. In general, they take pleasure in the simple things in life and appreciate their family and community.

Some of this is changing, however. The one “highway” is now being repaved and drivers are zooming around more quickly. More hotels are opening up to accommodate an expected influx of tourists.

Since it’s introduction to the country about 10 years ago, television has become popular (particularly Indian soap operas in Hindi) and cell phones are cropping up throughout the country.

Regardless of this “progress”, their laughter and good nature are infectious.

The one group of Bhutanese that we had the most interaction with were the children. Rarely shy to come say “hello”, we found them to be quite engaging and interested in us. One group of boys walked with us through a town singing songs at the tops of their little lungs.

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Happy Mediums

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008


There is a sharp spring wind rattling the window panes of Epinay school in Jarrow, South Tyneside, but the attention of the eight children in the class is firmly fixed on their teacher, Deborah Wilson. Up on the board is a cartoon of two boys discussing a girl they both like, with speech bubbles floating above their heads. Wilson is explaining to the children how the speech bubbles contain “self-talk” – the thoughts and conversations that go on in our heads. She is explaining how pessimistic thoughts can become self-fulfilling, while optimistic thoughts have more constructive outcomes. She encourages the children to challenge the negative thoughts, look for an alternative way of thinking, and be sure to put the situation into perspective.

It sounds much like common sense, and some would argue that it is a waste of precious timetable space. But Wilson believes that she has seen two-thirds of her class benefit from the programme she has been teaching to her year 7 pupils since the beginning of the year. “I’ve seen a change in the children,” she says. “We’ve got a culture of pessimism, and a lot of the problems today are because a lot of parents are like overgrown children. What I’m teaching is what the wise man of the community might be doing.”

What brought the issue into sharp focus for Wilson was her realisation on a recent trip to a school in South Africa that while the children in South Tyneside were considerable better off materially, the children in South Africa seemed happier.

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Happiness and having kids? Do they mix?

Friday, April 11th, 2008

…I have no doubt that there are parents who reflexively rank parenthood as their No. 1 joy in life because they think they’re supposed to. On the other hand, there’s a big difference between finding happiness in parenting and finding happiness in every minute of every day spent caring for kids. Parenthood can be intense and exhausting, hilarious and tedious, all in the same day; and 1-year-olds don’t always make the best conversationalists. But the satisfaction of parenthood isn’t something you can take apart, rating each little task to come up with an average “happiness score.” Like all relationships, raising kids is too complex for that…

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