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11 of the Most Smart-as-a-Whip Moms Share their Best Secrets on Raising Happy Children

Happy Children

It may seem hard to believe today, but happiness wasn’t always a parenting goal. All you need to do is look back into the not-too-distant-past where the main parenting objective was to keep children alive and raise them to become functional members of society. Luckily, things have changed, and raising happy children that are well-adjusted is the gold standard for most parents.

Modern mommas, know the value and importance of raising happy, fulfilled and content kids who are confident, capable, and know their worth. Although this may be the goal, the problem is figuring out how to get them to that point. The truth is, motherhood is hard and even your well-intended efforts can sometimes cause the opposite result. 

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That’s why I’ve turned to the experts (the best mothers I know) to share their top secrets on raising happy children.

Why are they the best? I know them well. I’ve watched how they parent, communicate with their children, and how present they are. They “hear” their children, they spend time with their children and they understand their needs. I’ve also watched their children become happy, confident, and self-reliant.

It wasn’t always easy. But the beautiful thing about mothers everywhere is that they don’t give up on their children. Click To Tweet

Advice from Moms of Little Ones

Follow your instincts – it’s the best guide! Patience, patience, patience! The more you roll with whatever is happening or phase you might be in, the easier it is for everyone to get through. I always try to make sure my child feels heard and supported (no matter how big the emotion or meltdown might be). And, of course, starting each day from a place of love.


I think my special way of mothering is that I am nurturing, loving, and affectionate while trying to balance independence and building confidence. I also think it’s extremely important to create a sense of safety with me and make sure that my kids feel comfortable and safe talking with me about anything they’re feeling or experiencing. At the same time, if there’s something that’s not working (misbehaving, not listening, etc.) I will get down to his level to make straight eye contact and change my tone of voice to make sure that he knows I’m serious while we’re speaking.


Right after my second child was born, we suddenly had a lot of trouble putting our older one to bed. He refused to go to sleep, and it was impossible. At that time, a pediatrician gave us some advice which worked really well. She said you need to spend (at least) 15 minutes of “floor time,” twice a day with him.

“Floor-time” meant just the two of us playing together with no baby around and no other distractions. No talking on the phone or making dinner or doing laundry or multitasking in any way. (At least) 15 minutes, twice a day, that was it, and it was amazing. It really worked. If we got our “floor time” on that day, he would go to bed. 

I’m always reminding myself that when your child comes to you, upset about something, it’s more important to listen and support and love than to try to fix it. It’s hard not to try to solve everything immediately but hold back if you can and see if that’s really what they’re asking for.

Happy Children

Advice from Moms with Teens

Set aside one hour after dinner to spend time together as a family tech-free; play a game, paint a picture, go on a dog walk together. Face to face time with teenagers is so important! They need adult connections more than ever. Also, have them do a bullet journal where they can mark down their feelings each day. It only takes a minute but it’s a good way to check kids’ mental & health status. Bullet journals are huge right now for kids!

Love them unconditionally and make sure they always know you’re there for them. Teach them: self-reliance, resilience, the importance of being kind to others, and the importance of giving back. Every child is an individual, make sure you treat them that way!


Try to support your child’s aspirations. Even if they’re not your interests or aspirations.

Happy Children

Advice from Moms of Already Grown & Happy Children

I have no special way of mothering. My children are my priority and I have always tried to be patient with them, while also having fun. I set boundaries, in a gentle way (maybe not so gentle at times). I tell them I love them and I think they know it is unconditional love. I’ve tried to be a good example and can see that by how great they are with their own happy children. They always know I’m there for them. I love my children with all my heart. 


I say “yes yes YES! GO for it!” Unless I see something I don’t like — and then I keep my mouth shut (unless I am asked). 

Non-judgmental conversation, listening, hearing, and empathy are essential. I always want my sons to know they can talk to me about anything, and especially if it concerns me in some way. When they were young, the only condition was that they be respectful. No yelling or screaming or temper, or else the discussion would have to wait until they calmed down. Now they are adults, and this life-long dialogue continues on a more complex, mature, and challenging level. But I believe it is because I listened, really listened, long ago that they continue to come to me today.

Happy Children

One of my greatest joys in life is being a mom to our two daughters. My husband and I loved parenting together, helping them grow, and watching them blossom into independent, passionate, creative, caring, and confident adults. While our nurturing was present in many ways, the essentials were listening, playing, encouraging, and loving.

Listening to our daughters helped them develop their voice, know they were respected, encouraged them to be an active part of conversations, and modeled an essential communication skill. 

Playing with them, whether we were finger painting, dressing-up, playing board games, or hide-n-seek, allowed us to be silly, creative, have fun, bond, and teach sharing and communication. 

Encouraging was our way of helping them explore interests and situations whether through dancing, reading, performing, traveling, studying, painting, writing, playing sports, baking, playing music, making friends, connecting with family, talking, or working out challenges. 

Loving was integral to all of these. We made sure our daughters knew how much they were loved through our words and actions. We celebrated their milestones, hugged, snuggled, held hands, read stories, wrote love notes, prioritized them, shared meals, and encouraged a loving bond as a family along with the sister-sister, parent-child, and parent-parent relationships.

Nightly, prior to going to sleep, we had “cuddle time.” This practice allowed us to have a quiet special bonding, the sharing of thoughts and helped to ease their way to sleep. During this time together, in our quiet space, my children would select their choice of book (usually a few) for us to read. Reading encourages the flow of language, imagination, and creativity to flourish. These are the skills we want for our children. Books become a form of magic as well as friends. A fascination for books is a tool that opens up the world and helps to develop their mind. Once a child develops a love for books they become lifelong learners.

Happy Children

How Motherhood Has Evolved Over the Years

Motherhood sure has changed since I was a child and it just keeps evolving. But just how much has the role of ‘mother’ changed over the last few decades? Quite a bit, actually. This is a brief timeline of motherhood over the years:

  • 1910s – Motherhood revolved around a combination of tough love and tough loving with a more hands-off mothering approach.
  • 1920s – The authoritarian mom approach came into style but experts were also telling moms that love and affection were necessary for raising happy children.
  • 1930s – 1940s – During the war, many moms needed to work and raise their kids while their husbands were away – something that most were criticized for doing.
  • 1950s – The post-war era saw women being put back into ‘their place’ as the number of stay-at-home-moms increased and their focus returned to chores and raising happy children.
  • 1960s – This child-centric decade of mothering was the first time moms could truly focus on child liberation and raising happy children who could reach their full potential.
  • 1970’s – The next decade was mom’s turn for liberation as new women’s rights laws were passed and women were finally judged less for being moms and having careers.
  • 1980s – 1990s – Moms during the late 20th century were even more likely to work while raising their children to be independent in a no-nonsense, yet loving manner.
  • 21st century – Modern moms are more empowered and have greater freedom to choose the parenting style that works best for them and ensures that they raise fulfilled and happy children.

Summary

Regardless of where you are on your motherhood journey, it’s comforting to know that there are countless other women who have been where you are now.

Use this post to find solace and guidance from the best moms I know. Their advice is golden and an excellent resource if you’re looking for advice on how to raise well-adjusted and happy children.

Save this post for future reference or better yet, share it with the other mommas in your life who need support.

PIN IT FOR LATER:

Happy Children

Comments 18

  1. Parenting has changed so dramatically. The comments from moms were lovely to read. My son and his wife co-parent so differently from the way my husband and I shared parenting our children. There’s a more even distribution of parenting responsibilities. Lovely piece, Ronni.

    1. Diane,
      Thank you for your feedback. Parenting styles have definitely changed since my kids were young, as well. Even sleep and potty training has taken on a whole new development.
      I find the changes fascinating. What that says is that there are many ways to raise happy children. All the advice I shared, though, did have a common thread. All the mothers were and are very involved and present.

    1. Thank you, Isabel for those kind words. I’m so pleased that my blog resonates with you and that you found helpful stories and information.🙌

  2. I always love reading tips from people who have actually been “in the trenches.” It means so much more than a run of the mill expert. These women have a personal knowledge of what was helpful. Admittedly, each of us has different children, so there is no one formula. Still, I couldn’t agree more than encouragement and love are key. We all need that (even we grown-ups!).

    1. Seana,
      I loved listening to all the wisdom. What resonated with me was letting your children be who they are and do things that inspire them, even if those things are not our choices.
      I can’t think of a better way to raise a child with independent thoughts.

  3. I love that you mention being tech-free each day. Spending time cooking together is a great way to do this. My mom and I would cook almost every day. While I didn’t like it so much when I was a teenager, I totally appreciated it now. I only wished that my kids were as interested in cooking healthy from-scratch meals as I am. Maybe I will be able to cook with them when they get older.

    1. Sabrina,
      It sounds like you had a very special mother. The day will come when your children will be interested in cooking healthy meals with you. It’s such a lovely way to connect.
      I often cook with my son who has “chef” abilities as far as I’m concerned. Everything he cooks is delicious and he’s often teaching me.

  4. Great idea for a blog post. I’m glad you included moms of grown kids. I think when your kids are little you anticipate a day when you’ll be “done” mothering, but that day never comes. No matter how old your kids are, you will always be their mom, and they will always need your influence, love, guidance, and support. I think that is part of being a good mom – building a relationship that can last a lifetime and evolve with your child’s changing needs.

    1. Sheri,
      Motherhood is a forever job. As you said, it never ends. Regardless how old they become, they’re still our children.
      When I look at my three, I see the little girl or little boy and also the grown woman and grown man. It’s remarkable. It’s also remarkable to watch our children become parents themselves.

  5. Ronni- Reading this, I kept thinking, what lucky kids! This is an incredible collection of mom wisdom, and I am honored to be included. There is a beautiful balance of love, patience, boundary-setting, and encouragement permeating the moms’ voices. Reading these makes me feel hope-filled for the generation of kids that are being nurtured into this world. Thank you.

    1. Linda,
      You are so right! All these children are lucky to have been raised by such sensitive mothers who parent well. I look at these children, many of whom are grown, and can clearly see how they’ve benefited from all the wisdom.

  6. I can only hope to be as good as these moms some day ;-D It seems the biggest theme in this post is “listening.” I like thinking of this as a way to help my girls’ opinions be respected and their voices heard. Such good advice! I also found the 100 year timeline really interesting.

    1. Melanie,

      I have no doubt you’re a loving and kind mother. Listening is important in any relationship, especially when it comes to our children. When you listen, a person feels validated and cared for. That lasts a lifetime.

      So what is the 100 year timeline? It does sound fascinating.

  7. What a lovely post. My mom’s mother built airplanes during WWII, and all she wanted was to get to be with her mother; so, for my mom, her major focus was always spending as much time with us as possible. I’ve always adored my mother (even when we’ve fought, which I think is an essential way for kids to grow and safely assert their independence). The older I get, the more I realize how lucky I am to have had a mother as amazing as mine, one who probably could have been a child psychologist if she’d wanted to use these same genius skills professionally. You really identified the keys to raising happy, healthy, well-adjusted humans!

    1. Julie,
      This is such a lovely memory. You know, you’ve given your mother the most beautiful gift, letting her know that she’s been an amazing mom. Our children represent our best and it means a lot when they regard our parenting with high esteem, as you do.

  8. I like how you showed how parenting has changed over time. When my kids were young I wanted them to know that whatever they had to say was important. So I would stop what I was doing to look at them and listen to whatever they had to say. This is something I didn’t feel I got when I was young. My mom had several more children, so probably just didn’t have the time.

    1. Janet,

      Your children were lucky to grow up with such an engaging and present mom. Feeling heard and visible are critical a healthy self esteem.
      My parents were from a generation that believed children should be seen and not heard. It sounds funny when I repeat it today but it certainly wasn’t fun back then.

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