There is a lot of confusion about what makes up a happy child. Is it a child who smiles a lot? A child who seems to always be happy? A child who enjoys reading books and having fun?
There are many definitions of happiness, and happiness is not necessarily the same as joy. For example, children who are very sensitive and cry easily may be unhappy but not joyous.
A more typical definition of happiness is a positive attitude, with all the positive emotions that go along with it.
How Does Happiness Look in Children?
Children of all ages have their unique personalities and each has their way of expressing happiness. Some children are happy by playing and laughing, while others are happy by helping others.
Some children like to talk and laugh, while others prefer to be quiet and focus on a particular activity. Children also express happiness in different ways such as through being with family or friends, creating art, or having fun.
Children who are in good physical health tend to be happier than those who are not. Children who have no major physical problems tend to be happier than those who do have such problems.
Children with happy parents also tend to be happier than those whose parents are not happy.
Photo by Colin + Meg on Unsplash.
How Does Sadness Look in Children?
Sadness differs from unhappiness. Sadness is a more general feeling of sorrow and may be more associated with a child’s relationship with their parents or friends.
Children may feel sad because they are unhappy, have been hurt, or feel lonely. They may also feel sad because they have lost something or feel that their life is not going the way they would like it to go.
Children may experience sadness or depression when they lose someone close to them, such as a parent or grandparent. Some children feel sad because they no longer have a favorite toy or something that used to bring them joy.
Other children have a difficult time when their friends have moved away or because their parents have divorced.
Children who experience negative emotions may show signs of sadness and crying, but do not necessarily experience the more general feelings of unhappiness that adults do.
Children who are depressed withdraw from others and experience a sense of being overwhelmed by sadness and grief.
How Does Happiness Change in Children?
Children can become happier as they grow older and gain new experiences in life. When children are happy, their families tend to be in a happier mood as well. Some parents find that when their children become happier, so do they.
When children feel good about themselves, so do their parents!
Signs Your Children are Naturally Happy
Naturally happy children do not have to be happy all the time. Sometimes, they may be unhappy, but they still show positive feelings and feel hopeful about the future. Naturally happy children can be seen by the following signs:
- They often smile and laugh even when they don’t feel like it.
- They love to spend time with their family and friends.
- Books, playing games, and any fun activities make them smile and laugh.
- They are full of energy and enjoy being active.
- They look forward to having fun times with their parents or friends.
Naturally happy children are easy to please because they want to do what makes their parents happy.
When children have good relationships with their parents, it makes them feel good about themselves and makes them more likely to experience happiness in other areas of life as well.
Photo by Chinh Le Duc on Unsplash.
How to Make Your Children Recover from Sadness
When children are sad, it is important to give them time to feel sad and grieve. Parents should make sure that they do not try to make their children feel better immediately. Parents need to give their children the space they need to heal.
Some things that parents can do when their children are experiencing sadness include:
- Caring for the child’s basic needs such as food, shelter, and clothing.
- Supporting the child’s self-esteem by encouraging them when they feel good about themselves.
- Providing an environment where the child feels safe and comfortable so that they can get out of bed and be active.
- Keeping conversations lighthearted so that the child does not feel overwhelmed by feelings of sadness or grief.
- Helping the child work through feelings of anger or guilt. This may involve talking about how things could have been different if things had turned out differently or making amends with others if necessary.
Improve Your Relationship with Your Children
Parents need to know that their children are experiencing feelings of sadness or unhappiness. When you notice your child is feeling sad, you should be able to tell what the cause of the sadness is.
If your child does not have a reason for being sad, it may be best to let them experience their feelings without trying to change them.
If your child has a reason for being sad, it is important to help them work through the sadness and get through it so that they can move on with their lives.
You can make sure that your children do not feel overwhelmed by feelings of sadness by talking about the situation and helping them healthily work through their feelings.
When children have good relationships with their parents, they are more likely to experience happiness in other areas of life as well.
Find more tips on how to improve your relationship with your children on our Blog, MindfulParent.