I just returned from a research trip to the Yale Centre for Emotional Intelligence near New York, home of the RULER Program – the world’s best emotional intelligence program for children and families. This research trip is a fore-runner to the introduction of the RULER Program tools for all Parentingideas Club members. I can’t wait to share these wonderful emotional intelligence tools!
The thing that I love about the RULER Program is that it’s totally evidence-based. It’s effectiveness is backed by mountains of scientific evidence, so credibility is assured. Speaking of evidence-based, it’s timely to share 10 research-backed tips for raising what most parents want – happy, successful kids.
Birth order matters
Birth order is something parents need to work with. Disregard your child’s birth order and you miss a vital clue to your parenting puzzle. Eldest children as a cohort experience greater mental health problems,particularly anxiety, than children in any other position. Happiness can be elusive for this group so they require a parenting style that is cognisant of their drivers, and that releases rather than places extra pressure on them.
Positive peers matter
Your child’s friends impact heavily on their well-being and frame of mind. When peer relationships are smooth children seem to be happier, more content and even learn better. Recent research I was involved in demonstrated that the well-being of teenage girls is highly influenced by their peer groups. A positive peer group is usually equated with high life satisfaction regardless of what other factors where at play.
Parent mental health matters
If you want happy kids then you need to get yourself happy. Parent anxiety and depression is linked to behavioural problems in kids; it also makes our parenting less effective. Parent well-being begins with attending to your own needs at least in short bursts and not feeling guilty for doing so.
Siblings relationships matter
Relationship-building is important but how do you go about teaching kids to get on. Start by encouraging children to build small acts of kindness, which builds empathy. Help them mend relationship problems that have broken down. Start with siblings first. For only children, make sure you build these skills through interactions with peers. Research shows that over the long haul healthy relationships makes kids happier.
Developmental matching matters
A number of studies point to the fact that much of what is considered poor parenting has actually got more to do with poor developmental matching. Put simply, a parent who raises an eleven-year-old like an eight-year-old may find that conflict and resistance becomes their constant companion; and unhappiness accompanies their child.
Good parenting matters
Permissive, laissez faire, autocratic or authoritative parenting? These are the parenting styles most parents use at some point. If you want your child to be happy and succeed over the long term then extensive British research shows the way – the links between authoritative parenting (a mixture of firmness, warmth and family participation) and children’s happiness and well-being are strong. This is the approachParentingideas consistently promotes and our strategies fit this framework.
Family dinners matter
Yes, you’ve got to eat. But you need to eat together. Significant research links family strength and children’s well-being to regular family mealtimes. Importantly, there is a high correlation between teenagers that eat with their family at least five times a week and good mental health.
Kids get precious little unstructured time these days. Play that is not initiated by adults is more than just mucking around. Kids learn and grow through play. Researchers believe that the dramatic drop in unstructured playtime is in part responsible for slowing kids cognitive and emotional development. Unstructured play helps children learn how to work in groups, to share, negotiate, resolve conflicts, regulate their emotions and behaviour, and speak up for themselves.
Helping others matters
The Positive Psychology movement know what they are talking about when they put volunteering at the forefront of an individual’s well-being. Helping others makes you happy over the long term. Same goes with kids. Just don’t let their grumpiness put you off when you expect them to help.
Emotional intelligence matters
Emotional intelligence is a skill, not an inborn trait. Thinking kids will just naturally come to understand their emotions (let alone those of others) doesn’t set them up for success or happiness. Kids learn best when they have concrete tools to assist their learning – whether it’s learning to read (books come in handy), play sport (a ball and some goalposts helps) or learning to dance (some suitable music helps). The wonderful tools in RULER Program toolkit make learning emotional intelligence accessible for kids.
So let’s recap!
To raise happy, successful kids:
- Birth order matters
- Positive peers matter
- Parent mental health matters
- Siblings relationships matter
- Developmental matching matters
- Good parenting matters
- Family dinners matter
- Fun matters
- Helping other matters
- Emotional intelligence matters
Are you ready to amplify your parenting? Join Parentingideas Club today – the home of emotionally-intelligent parenting. (Each of these 10 keys to happiness & countless others is explored in depth in Club)
Step 1: Go to ParentingideasClub
Step 2: Click on the ‘Learn More’ button
Step 3: Choose your membership option
Step 4: Get ready to watch your Welcome message
Step 5: Your Developmental Map will arrive after 14 days.
A popular presenter, Michael Grose speaks to parents, teachers and principals on a regular basis.Michael comes from an education background, and has conducted post-graduate research into what makes healthy families tick.He's given over 1500 parenting presentations, including the first parenting seminar in Parliament House, Canberra.Michael is married with three adult children who have all successfully flown the parent nest.