Happiness has been on my mind the past few days. Got me thinking my daughter and the happiness I want for her.
As a parent, I often say that I want my daughter to be happy. But what does that really mean?
Am I expecting my daughter to be happy 100% of the time? No. I wouldn't be a good parent if I expected that. Yes, I want to be an awesome, fun parent. But it can't come at the cost of parenting. I still have the responsibility and obligation to discipline. I still have the responsibility and obligation of raising a child that has manners, shows respect, and demonstrates all the other values that we have. I also yell at times, when it's necessary and when I lose my temper because I don't think I can take one more second of madness (whining, pity party, temper tantrum, etc).
When my daughter experiences "negative" emotions, that can be hard for me to support. It all depends on the circumstance really. Some experiences hurt because I wish she didn't have to experience the disappointment, the pain, the embarrassment, or the like. Other times I struggle with how long to be supportive of crying and whining about an experience before I'm ready for her to get over it.
Did you catch that?
I sometimes have trouble supporting her when I'M READY for her to get over it? Yep...completely my issue. Don't let me hang out here. Aren't others like this too...sometimes? Maybe you have a girlfriend that had a jerk for a boyfriend or husband, but she keeps hanging on to him and complains about him over and over and over?! Or what about the co-worker that complains about EVERYTHING?! I can't be the only one people!
I do my best to allow my kid the space to feel and process negative emotions. I do my best to ensure she knows that all emotions are healthy. We're human. We're not robots. With all the teen suicides and drug use, I am tremendously conscious of my behavior in tough times. I often reference the Disney movie, Inside Out when counseling her through a tough situation. (If you've not seen it, and you have kids, it's a MUST SEE.) It discusses this very issue - the need to make space for all emotions, not just happiness. The movie is so relevant to many of us, not just our kids; not to mention it's just super fun to watch.
With all of this said, I found that I had to clarify what I mean when I say I want my kid to be happy. I believe I've settled on this: the desire for her to feel happiness and contentment more often than not, but not exclusively. Making her life super easy so that she never experiences pain would be such a disservice, not only to her, but to society.
If you want your kids to be "happy," what does it mean to you? I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Be open to what comes.