Raising Happy Kids: How your Parenting Choices Can Protect Your Child’s Mental Health

Raising Happy Kids: How your Parenting Choices Can Protect Your Child’s Mental Health

Mental health affects the way your child thinks, feels and behaves. Taking your child’s mental health into consideration, when making parenting decisions is a really smart idea. 

Your child’s mental health is just as important as their physical health.  As a parent, you can play a very positive role in your child’s mental health and well-being. 

There are many benefits to choosing a positive approach to parenting.  Several studies have shown that children feel safe and grow confident when parents treat them with respect and kindness. 

When your child misbehaves, strive to be positive and focus on solutions. This way you can have a lasting, positive impact on how your child feels about making mistakes and making amends.

If you approach your discipline in a positive way, you can positively impact your child’s mental health. 

These ten science based Positive Parenting choices create a home environment in which your child can grow well and thrive.

how parenting affects mental health positive parenting and behaviors

1. Accept imperfection: Your child will make many mistakes and misbehave as they grow.  

Aiming for perfectly behaved kids is unrealistic and  puts the whole family  under pressure.

Focus on problem solving, forgiveness and compassion.

When you see mistakes as a chance to teach,  you automatically activate your child’s growth mindset! 

Don’t just accept misbehavior, instead, make sure your child knows that you will have their back when they need you most.  (More on setting proper limits below!)

This next tip is simple and yet so powerful.

2. Smile: It’s contagious and brings happiness into your child’s heart. 

Your child needs to see you laugh and have a good time.  As parents we worry, it’s only natural but your child should not be burdened by this. 

Give it a try: For the next week, smile just a little more each time you see your child. It’s a guaranteed happiness booster for all of you.

By no means do you have to fake happiness or pretend that everything your child does brings you joy. Look for the moments when it genuinely fits and focus on those just a bit more! 

smile just a little more each time you see your child. It’s a guaranteed happiness booster for all of you.

3. Make time to listen: When your child is talking to you about problems, hopes or dreams, try this: Do not worry about fixing anything, or bringing your child back to reality.  Just be there and be supportive. 

Your child says they are going to be a rockstar? That’s great because it shows they have positive self esteem. 

Your child says they hate Suzy and never wants to talk to her again? 

Ok, listen first.  When emotions run high, it’s hard to make good decisions. 

So ask how you can help or if your child has a plan but invest the time to listen first. 

It’s not your job to fix your child’s feelings or prevent them from happening in the first place. Instead, show your child that you are there for them, being supportive, instead of being a fixer. 

If your child isn’t opening up, try asking fun and creative questions to get the conversation started.

4. Dare to be Ridiculous: Dance together, laugh, laugh and laugh some more.  Create, play, whatever it may be, step outside your comfort zone.

It’s worth every moment of connection and it models amazing qualities your child needs to succeed in life.

Set time aside to have fun as a family!

Guaranteed laughter? Try the game Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza or Burrito

Beyond silly, from age 5 and up, seriously my teens and I were rolling with laughter playing this game!

5. Choose Encouragement based praise:  Celebrate your child’s process and progress, as they learn to do things.

It’s their determination to see things through and ability to try again when they fail that build’s resilience and grit. 

Show your child that no matter if they experience success or failure, they will be met with your unconditional love.

6. Expect Limits to be Tested: Don’t look or anticipate misbehavior but know that a growing child’s job is to push limits and test boundaries. It’s a huge part of understanding life and social expectations. 

If you think your child will never get upset, and never push limits you will get very frustrated. 

Instead, know that it can happen, and happen often. So guide your child towards better choices by being kind and clear about your expectations.

Boundaries will be crossed and your job is to help your child get back on track.

Setting clear limits is part of a positive parenting strategy: These questions can help you set clear limits that work.

positive parenting mental health setting boundaries with respect

7. Communicate with Respect: Remember the way you speak to your child will directly impact what they believe about themselves.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.

If you yell or lose your cool, take time to rewind and reconnect

You don’t have to always get it right, you just have to willing to try again!

8. Spend time together: Look for opportunities, no matter how short they may be, to truly connect with your child each day.

Re-think ordinary moments like making a meal, getting ready for bed and even grocery shopping.

Caretaking activities are vital towards bonding and creating healthy relationships. The early morning and bedtime routines don’t have to be a drag if you are intentional and aware of what the goal is. Shared time together where you are taking care of your child. It’s not just brushing teeth, it’s not just getting a story read.

 It’s about shared moments and knowing that your child is counting on you to be present and caring.

Without a doubt, this kind of interaction feeds your child’s mind and heart at the same time.  

9. Aim for Balance: Make time for yourself so you have energy to care for your child.

Especially in parenting this rules applies: When your own tank is full, you can handle the ups and downs of life much better.

It’s not selfish to take time to care for yourself and it will likely lead to you feeling happier, calmer and kinder.

Not only that, let’s be real, screens and tablets are part of our children’s lives, so if you need time for yourself, try to prioritize and use that screen time wisely.

It’s ok, actually very important, for you to take a breaks!

10. Choose Love: Over the years it will get messy, loud, complicated and stressful. Believe that your love is enough and remember that to your child, your presence and support will always be important.

Strive to be a source of love and safety for your child when things are going well. 

Even more so, try to slow down and breathe first, when your child is acting out and needs guidance.

When you tune in to your child’s behaviors and understand the situation you will be better able to respond in a way that is effective and also healthy for your whole family. 


Keep in Mind…

Perfection doesn’t exist and parenting is not an easy job. Positive parenting is not about keeping your kids or yourself happy all the time. Every family experiences ups and downs and many challenges. Mental health is impacted by many different factors and if your child is struggling you have not failed.  Remember that your presence and loving connection can make a real difference in your child’s life.

Peace & Be Well,

Ariadne

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Ariadne is a happy and busy mama to three children. She practices peaceful, playful, responsive parenting and is passionate about all things parenting and chocolate. Ariadne has a Masters in Psychology and is a certified Positive Discipline Parenting Educator. She lives on top of a beautiful mountain with her family, and one cuddly dog.

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