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.
Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links. Keep in mind that I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you when you click my links and make a purchase. However, this does not impact my opinion in any way. I only promote brands I believe in and products that I use and love myself. I try my best to keep things fair and balanced to help you make the best choice for you.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: