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Give unconditional love



Dr. Schwartz's second rule on raising a happy child

 

The following is one of 14 variables that child development experts and happiness researchers believe attribute to raising not only a happy child but also continued happiness through adulthood.

 

Don’t make approval or love conditional on “good” or correct behavior. Children need to know they are loved for who they are, not for who you want them to be. Disapprove of their behavior, but don’t ever make them feel unloved because of it.

The ‘80s gave us the term “quality time.” It was a term coined by the “yuppies” as a means of rationalizing the small amount of “well spent” time with their children. Quality time is a good idea, but the more time you spend with your children, the happier they will be. You will also have fewer regrets about missed opportunities when your children become adults.

If this recommendation makes sense to you, it will become a practice. And, in any practice that we are committed to – no matter how many mistakes we make or how often we deviate from what we believe to be correct – we will keep trying until we get it right or at least until we improve.

The same concept pertains to parenting; parenting is very much a practice. I hope as you are enjoying these more relaxed days of summer, some of the ideas help bring more happiness into your family’s lives.


Paul Schwartz, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology and Education at Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh. He is available for group speaking engagements. He can be reached at editor@excitingread.com.

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