Helping Your Kids Build Habits of Happiness

Sep 09, 2022
Helping Your Kids Build Habits of Happiness

Do you remember the nursery rhyme song called "If You're Happy and You Know It (Clap Your Hands)? If not, here is the beginning of the song to refresh your memory...

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands

If you're happy and you know it, then your face will surely show it

If you're happy and you know it, clap your hands

I used to love that song. The great lesson of that song is that happiness is reflected by our faces, countenance, and eyes. The truth is happiness comes and goes.

When life is good, we're happy! When life isn't going well, we're unhappy. Happiness can be a misleading illusion we find ourselves chasing after. Our kids can be all over the map with their emotions which can cause them to be up one minute and down the next.

It's easy to believe life consists of mountain tops (good grades, "likes" or "views" on social media, new friends, winning a competition, etc.), and of course, valley's (bad grades, no "likes" or "views" on social media, betrayal by a friend, losing the game, etc.).  

The truth is life can, as author Rick Warren says, be like two rails on a railroad track. "You have something good and something bad happening simultaneously."  

We all face four common killjoys in life: pain, people, pressures, and problems.

The sooner your kids are aware of these four areas that hijack their happiness, the stronger and healthier they will be mentally, emotionally, relationally, spiritually, and even physically.

If our kids dwell on the negative and allow other people or circumstances to control their attitudes and emotions, it can lead to all kinds of harmful and destructive habits.  

So, how do you help your kids keep from being highjacked by unhappiness? By assisting them in building daily habits of happiness. Let me share four habits to help your kids focus on daily.   

1. The Habit of Perspective.

Helping our kids to see pain, people, pressures, and problems with the right perspective, will allow them to see the big picture and not be devastated or overwhelmed when things don't go their way or when the unexpected happens. Helping our kids keep the proper perspective toward difficulties will allow them to overcome setbacks and disappointments. We can choose to be BITTER or BETTER. Therefore, happiness is a choice! It's all about helping our kids shift their perspectives.

2. The Habit of Attitude.

John Maxwell says, "our attitude is our best friend or our worst enemy." Helping our kids maintain the proper perspective and having the right attitude will help them bounce back from disappointments. We live in a cruel world. Kids can say hurtful things to each other, especially on social media. Would you agree that few things can highjack our happiness faster than being criticized? Why? Because we want to be liked and loved. We want others' approval and affirmation. Helping our kids develop and maintain a healthy perspective and attitude will help prevent them from being controlled or manipulated by others.  

3. The Habit of Trust. 

Our kids need to know that when things are falling apart in their world, they don't have to try to put them back together on their own. At some point, they have to let go and let God help them through the things beyond their control. This is the faith factor. When your kids are going through a problem, they have two options: pray or panic. The Serenity Prayer is a good reminder to teach our kids. "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. As the old saying goes, "this too shall pass!"  At some point, they have to learn to stop trying and start trusting. 

4. The Habit of Purpose.

The reason why most people are miserable is that they think that happiness comes from self-gratification. If I have more nice things, if I can enjoy more pleasures, if I can attain a higher position of acceptance, approval, and applause, I'll be happier. That doesn't work. Self-gratification isn't the way to happiness. The way to happiness is self-sacrifice. Teaching our kids the importance of giving their lives away to help others is what brings lasting joy and fulfillment to their lives. Encourage them with the idea that they were made to make a difference in their lives. The two most important dates in life are the day we were born and the day we discovered why. Helping our kids find their "why" is one of the greatest gifts of joy we can experience as parents. 

Rodney and Michelle Gage are the founders of ReThink Life Church and The Winning Family. For over 30 years, they have devoted their lives to helping people win at home and in life.

One of the ways that Rodney & Michelle support families is through monthly mentoring where they provide live mentorship and Q & A to couples and parents. You can sign up today for a free trial of The Double Win Club and receive a free copy of Rodney's new book, The Double Win.