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personal happiness
self indulgence
pursuit of happiness
happiness comes from
different things
Are We Setting Our Children Up For Misery By Wanting Them To Be Happy?
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Are We Setting Our Children Up For Misery By Wanting Them To Be Happy?

When you speak to most parents they tell you that they don’t care what their children end up doing, or who they marry ‘as long as they are happy’.

When you think about it though by setting this goal for our children maybe we are setting them up for certain unhappiness as your child will believe that they have a right to happiness and may not understand that his or her happiness must not come at the expense of anyone else.

Happiness means different things to different people and for your child to be happy may mean, for example, that the want the newest gadget like an iphone. Once they have this they are happy for a moment and them want something else and so it goes on. Your child will never be happy as there will always be something else they want.

Happiness Can Cause Self-Indulgence

Happiness as a goal may cause children to be selfish and self-indulgent as they will think only of themselves. They will not learn that sometimes it is necessary to sacrifice personal happiness for the greater good of all.

When a person thinks only of themselves they become very bored and life is meaningless. They achieve nothing of lasting value as happiness is momentary and then the circumstances causing it change. If the thing giving the happiness had no substance the child will quickly need another thing to give the same feeling. The happiness comes from outside the child, rather than from within and is fleeting. The constant pursuit of happiness is draining and can ultimately cause dissatisfaction and depression.

A Better Goal Might Be To Live A Life Of Purpose and Service

A better goal for our children might be for them to live a life of purpose and service to others. This will require them to be self-disciplined and responsible and to consider the needs of others rather than constantly indulging themselves.

When a child makes sacrifices and has to wait for things they achieve a far greater feeling of satisfaction when they finally get what they want. It has more value to them as effort was involved in achieving it.

Also, a child who serves and cares about others will develop deep relationships which bring lasting joy. They will learn to take delight in the successes of others which doubles their potential for happiness.

Children should be taught from an early age to put the needs of others before their own and to take responsibility for their actions. This will build character and lasting happiness as the happiness is built on solid foundations.

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