Happy Kids - How to Raise Emotionally Healthy & Happy Kids

As loving parents, we want to raise happy kids who know themselves, get along with others and lead successful lives. We want to give our kids the best, but how do we do this when all we've known is the upbringing we've had?

How do we move beyond the negative aspects of our upbringing and create close, loving relationships with our children? How do we give our kids the best possible start? In this article, I'll answer these questions and give you three essential tips that will help you improve your relationship with your children and make you feel good about your parenting skills.

Before I talk about these tips, you should know that these ideas are not based on some untested theory, but come directly from my life. You see, when I first had children, I was terrified that I would be a terrible parent. I think we all are somewhat crippled by this fear. After all, the bottom line is that we really don't know what we're doing yet we have our children's lives in our hands. We have the power to shape and guide them, but if we don't do things right ... well, we don't get a second chance.

Tips for Raising Happy Kids

  • Know Thyself - Socrates said this centuries ago, but it is a timeless and universal truth. Don't just read this article and forget about it later. If you really want to raise a beautiful family, you have to do the work, especially if you come from a dysfunctional home (and most of us do—the term "dysfunctional family" is great example of an oxymoron). You have to think carefully about your upbringing. How do you want your children's lives to be different from yours and what do you need to change inside yourself to make this happen?

    In my book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting, I give you a plan for looking deep inside yourself. Understand that you cannot change what you are not aware of and if you don't take the time to examine values from your upbringing, then for the most part, you will raise your children unconsciously and do unto them what was done to you. As you've guessed, doing this does not result in raising emotionally healthy and happy kids.

  • Know Your Child - Ask me and I'll tell you with shining eyes that the greatest gift of parenting is getting to know my children's hearts. I am so enamored with who they are and who they are becoming. Their ethics-in-action has delighted, surprised me and made me proud.

    Even though my eldest is a teenager, we are very close and he feels comfortable talking with me about almost every aspect of his life. I say "almost" because I know he needs his privacy, but I am constantly amazed at the things he shares with me, things I never would have entrusted my parents with when I was a teen because we didn't have a close relationship.

    The reason my kids are so close to me is that I have taken the time to know their hearts. I know what makes their hearts sing and I encourage them to follow that. I'm not raising my kids to be robots—to be carbon copies of everybody else. Ultimately, I'm raising them to discover who they are, why they're here and what they have to offer others. If you don't instantly recognize that this is a practice for raising truly happy kids, then I suggest you read my book which uses a unique combination of Native American ideas and child psychology to teach parents how to see inside their children's hearts.

  • Know Your Values and act from them - In life, it is essential that you discover what it is you value. I value my family—my husband and two boys. I value my work which is all about teaching people how to see and love each other. I value these things above having a spotless home. When you know what you value, it becoming increasingly easy to make hard choices in a crazy, hectic world where so many things are begging for your attention.

    In my book, I talk about how to create your values and I'm not talking about unconsciously living from the values that you swallowed whole in childhood—the values that were passed on by your parents, and their parents and theirs ....Remember that some of these values are centuries old and fail to take into account what we've learned about child development and the cruel, lifelong effects of old parenting techniques like blame, shame and punishment.

Think about these tips. I hope they have given you food for thought. Above all, I want to encourage you in your quest for raising emotionally healthy and happy kids.

About the author: Laura Ramirez is the author of the award-winning book, Keepers of the Children: Native American Wisdom and Parenting. The book combines ideas from the native culture, like stewardship, with child development to help parents learn how to raise children to develop their natural strengths and lead meaningful and productive lives. It is unlike any parenting book you have ever read and is a journey of self-discovery for child and parent.

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Buy Keepers of the Children

The book will be shipped to you via Priority Mail. Note: The name on the charge will be Walk in Peace.

Laura has also written a companion workbook/journal that makes the ideas in her book concrete and a part of your daily "practice" of parenting. This book is an ebook that can be printed out and customized for your family's use. To buy and download the workbook/journal, click on the link. It will be sent to you via email within 24-48 hours after purchase. Note: the name on the charge will be Walk in Peace.

Keepers of the Children: Workbook/Journal

Ms. Ramirez lives with her husband and two boys in the sage-dotted foothills of Northern Nevada. She publishes "Family Matters Parenting Magazine and teaches online parenting classes.

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