How important is a happy childhood?

Best-Selling Parenting Author, Harry H. Harrison Jr., explains how a happy childhood has no relationship to a child being happy later on in life and whether parents are good or not
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How important is a happy childhood?

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A lot of parents make the mistake of associating a child´s happiness with their competency as a parent. And it´s almost the inverse proportion to what you think. The Atlantic magazine ran an article a couple months ago about how to land your child in psychotherapy. It was written by a psychologist. She assumed when she started treating students in college that they had everything. And so, she thought she would see kids whose parents had neglected their kids, whose parents had abused them. But what she was getting were kids who were depressed who had everything. They had no complaints with their parents. They had happy childhoods. They had never known struggle. And now that they were in college or now that they were out of college and in the adult world, they did not know what was wrong. They felt empty. They felt unfulfilled and they did not feel that they could cope with life. But they all agreed they had a happy childhood. So happiness has nothing to do with whether you are a great parent. Whether you are a great parent has everything to do with are you preparing your child for adulthood, are you letting them struggle in life, are you giving them goals to attain, are you saying no to $10,000 dollar toys that some kids have. Our focus on making our children happy is not preparing them for the adult world. A lot of times if your daughter is crying in the bedroom because she is having to struggle with her homework or she has been caught cheating on a test or she is having to go to work. No other girl is having to work. She is feeling put upon. Don´t feel guilty about that. This is how children grow. This is how they mature and learn to face the adult world. An unhappy child generally means you are probably doing something right. We used to have a joke in our house that our 13 year old son was not happy until he was 18. But he was a fine teenager and he grew up to be a great young man. So happiness and competency as a parent, they just have nothing to do with each other.

Best-Selling Parenting Author, Harry H. Harrison Jr., explains how a happy childhood has no relationship to a child being happy later on in life and whether parents are good or not

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Harry H. Harrison Jr.

Best-Selling Parenting Author

Harry Harrison is the New York Times best-selling author of some of the most well known parenting books in the world.  He has appeared on television shows across the country, been interviewed on over 50 national radio programs including NPR, and is a regular contributor to websites like Dr. Laura.com, Sheknows.com, parentingpink.com, storknet.com, and sharecare.com (a collaboration between Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil).

His books aren’t the normal narrative read, but concise, sometimes hilarious, sometimes poignant chunks of inspiration and advice that parents read and reread over again. He has also written two eBooks directed towards college students to guide and motivate them to earn a college degree.  Mr. Harrison and his wife, Melissa, have raised two incredible sons.

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