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The Seven Secrets of Happy Children

The Seven Secrets of Happy Children

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The Seven Secrets of Happy Children

1 Say “Yes” to your child as often as you say “No.”Your child needs to know where he or she stands, not just where they fall. Note – Do this one thing alone and your child will grow up with higher self-esteem.

2 Tell them that you love them each and every day, especially last thing before they go to sleep.

3 When you praise them, be specific about what the praise of for.

4 Encourage them how to think, not what to think– be careful about giving your opinions as if they are facts. And listen to what they say – really listen.

5 Play/be with them when they want you to – five minutes after doesn’t work.

6 Your child is very very clever and aware from the moment they are born – remember this at all times – never look down at them (indeed, when you speak to them, kneel to their level).

7 Show a genuine interest in an interest of theirs– be it a TV programme, book or hobby – don’t judge their choice of music like your parents may have judged yours. When you sit down to watch their favourite programme, they will show they love having you there by explaining about what is going on, who the characters are etc.

And an 8th…

If your son or daughter says they want to be an astronaut when they grow up, how would you reply?

Oh! What a big moment of choice for you – do you tell “the truth” and explain how difficult that would be – education, dedication, hard work?

Or do you say, “And you will be a very good astronaut”

I suggest the latter

Indeed, whatever your child/niece/nephew/young friend says in terms of what they are going to be, say the same “And you will be a very good … (whatever)”


Because it will give them more choices in life (and higher self-esteem), because tomorrow they will want to be something different anyway and because what right do we have to impose our limited beliefs on their ambition / future?

With my love and best wishes


Share your comments in the comments below

14 Responses to The Seven Secrets of Happy Children

  1. Thank you
    Message via email…

    Hi David,
    I hope all’s well and you’re having a great summer. Just wanted to say how much I enjoy your blog in general, and this post in particular! Love it. Many thanks and best wishes

  2. One of my things I’ve always tried not to do is moan about things like mess (occasionally I do) and saved telling’s off the things that really matter.
    I think sometimes it is easy to find something to moan about, but that leaves them thinking that’s all you do and they won’t want to spend too much time with you and switch off when you are speaking to them.
    And definitely, particularly with a teenager if they want to talk, then drop everything and listen, even at 2am the morning! otherwise that moment when they needed you will be gone.

  3. Being a parent isn’t easy, it takes time and patience. It also flies by, so be in the moment and enjoy them.
    The little people are leaders of the future, so its a job we all should take seriously.
    They also ask some jolly good questions about what’s happening in the world and why.
    Put them on a question time panel.

  4. Great blog!

    I try, but I fail, I try again as a parent to an almost 16 year old boy and I fail. And then, (sorry grammar nuts) my little man blows me away with an insight and experience that just goes above and beyond my own mindfulness.

    This weekend we spent a great time as a family with my sister in-law and her three young boys sharing a meal and a few drinks. The conversation at one point was all about my brother in-law and a recent experience he had “wing walking”. Now Harvey, my son, is aeroplane mad- he is a walking google on planes, make, model, history. He volunteers at a local former RAF base museum on a weekend. He is in the air cadets and has clocked up many hours of flying in various different planes and gliders. Last month he was performing aerobatics above RAF Cranwell. He has had a private tour of the battle of Britain memorial flight, sitting in the Lancaster, Hurricane, Spitfires. He has worked at the RAF Waddington Airshow. Last summer he spent a full week work experience (arranged by himself) with the Red Arrows… THE ACTUAL RED ARROWS.

    This morning his mum, Alison asked him- “You know yesterday, when we were talking about your Uncle Richards wing walking, how come you said nothing?”

    Harvey’s response- “Oh I had lots to say but I was listening, besides we were talking about Richards experiences, not mine”.

    Damn it- I just learned from my son how important it is to listen and not spend the time thinking about what I could say next.

  5. All brilliant comments above, I echo all their points. I couldn’t help, however, but notice how true this is, also, of…happy employees! On a few occasions in the past seven years I was told I would never be a higher level manager than I was and various reasons were given. Like a child, I got demoralised. Surely, if my boss said so, it must be true – they’re ‘higher ups’ and know better. Don’t they? But after moping around a few weeks,I decided to prove them wrong. And guess what? Now I am one level higher than one of those people is. And I’m now being told by a very inspirational leader, our Director, that I am actually a very good…astronaut!

    Oh yes, and I am more likely to accept my bossess’ “Nos” because they often actually also say “Yes”… 🙂

  6. Thank you all – Martyn, how clever is Harvey – Diana, what a relevant comment, thank you all David

  7. I agree with the bribery line.
    I also say yes all the time, providing thereis something in it for me.

  8. The response to this one has been amazing and the comments, emails and calls have taken me by surprise. Thank you all. David x

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