How hardships and mistakes benefit kids

Christine Carter, PhD Sociologist and Happiness Expert, shares advice for parents on how hardships and mistakes benefit kids over the course of their lifetime
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How hardships and mistakes benefit kids

Life is full of difficulty and discomforts and hard times. And it is really important for kids to learn how to deal with discomfort or pain or even just challenge. But many parents understandably want to protect their children from feeling any sort of pain. I know as a parent myself I can often catch myself in trying to prevent kids from making mistakes. But when we prevent kids from making a mistake, what we are doing is we are teaching them two things. One, it must be really awful to make a mistake or my mom or dad wouldn´t always be swooping in and preventing it from happening. And number two, I must not be able to handle it myself or, again, they would not be handling it for me. And we really want our kids to learn the opposite of that. We want them to learn that it´s really not that bad to make a mistake, that it might be really embarrassing for a short period of time but then they get over it. It is not that bad. They might even learn something or feel grateful for the challenge or even the discomfort. And we want them to learn that they can handle it themselves, that they can pick themselves up after a fall, all by themselves, because that is a skill that they are going to need for their whole life.

Christine Carter, PhD Sociologist and Happiness Expert, shares advice for parents on how hardships and mistakes benefit kids over the course of their lifetime


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Christine Carter, PhD

Sociologist & Happiness Expert

A sociologist and happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, Christine Carter, PhD is the author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents. Dr. Carter also writes an award-winning blog for Greater Good, which is syndicated on the Huffington Post and Carter has helped thousands of parents find more joy in their parenting while raising happy, successful and resilient kids. Known for her parenting and relationship advice, Carter draws on psychology, sociology, neuroscience, and uses her own chaotic and often hilarious real-world adventures to demonstrate the do’s and don’ts in action.

After receiving her B.A. from Dartmouth College, where she was a Senior Fellow, Dr. Carter worked in marketing management and school administration, going on to receive her PhD. in sociology from UC Berkeley. Dr. Carter has been quoted in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, the San Francisco Chronicle and dozens of other publications. She has appeared on the “Oprah Winfrey Show,” the “TODAY” show, the “Rachael Ray Morning Show,” “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart,” “CBS Sunday Morning,” “ABC World News with Diane Sawyer” and NPR.

Carter has been a keynote speaker at hundreds of events and professional groups. In 2010, she received an award from the Council on Contemporary Families for her outstanding science-based reporting on family issues. In 2011 she won Red Tricycle’s award for the “Most Awesome Parent Education,” and so far in 2012 she has been nominated for a Bammy Award and for an award from the American Sociological Association for public sociology.

Dr. Carter teaches parenting classes online throughout the year to a global audience on She lives with her family in Berkeley, CA.

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