The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness : Five Steps to Help Kids Create and Sustain Lifelong Joy
Here, at last, is a book brimming with the good news of raising children-the basic reassuring news about happiness and unconditional love, about enduring family connections and kids who grow up right. Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., father of three and a clinical psychiatrist, has thought long and hard about what makes children feel good about themselves and the world they live in. Now, in The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, Dr. Hallowell shares his findings with all of us who care about children.
Hallowell (Driven to Distraction) provides a refreshing look at what children really need in order to grow up to be happy adults. Hallowell argues that kids do not need straight As, a crammed schedule of extracurricular activities or even a traditional family in order to become contented adults. What children really need, according to the author, are unconditional love from someone (not necessarily a parent) and the opportunity to revel in the magic and play of childhood. Kids do not need perfect lives, and learn from adversity and failure, but for the best chance of future happiness, Hallowell says, they need five basic tenets: to feel connected, to play, to practice, attain mastery and receive recognition. It's easy to get caught up in the "great riptide that sucks kids out of childhood and into an achievement fast lane as early as nursery school," Hallowell warns. Instead, he says, parents should focus on social/emotional health and happiness, creating an environment in which kids are free to "develop the muscles of confidence, optimism and hope." Drawing upon the research of optimist expert Martin Seligman, happiness researcher Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and others, the author offers a solid case for establishing joyful childhood roots that form the basis of adult contentment. Though occasionally overly sentimental, Hallowell's heartfelt message is essential for our fast-paced, electronic age, reminding parents and children alike to slow down, enjoy life and learn to play well. (Oct.) Forecast: The publisher plans a solid media package, including an 8-city author tour, but Hallowell's name alone will boost sales. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
August 26, 2003
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness by Edward M. Hallowell
WHAT DO I REALLY WANT FOR MY CHILDREN? Think of your children. Bring their faces to your mind. Then ask yourself, "What do I really want for them in their lives?"
Don't assume you know. Before you spend another day as a parent (or as a teacher or a coach or anyone else involved with children), try to answer this deceptively simple question: What do I really want for my children?
Is it trophies and prizes and stardom? Do you want them all to grow up and become president of the United States? Is it riches and financial security? Is it true love? Or is it just a better life than the one you have now?
On some days you might quickly reply, "I just want them to clean up their rooms, do their homework, and obey me when I speak." On other days, when you are caught up in the pressures your children are feeling at school, you might desperately reply, "I just want my children to get high SAT scores and be admitted to Prestige College."
But if you linger over the question, your reply will almost certainly include one particular word: the simple, even silly-seeming word happy. Most of us parents just want our children to be happy, now and forever. Oh, sure, we also want them to be good people; we want them to contribute to the world; we want them to care for others and lead responsible lives. But deep down, most of us, more than anything else, want our children to be happy.
If we take certain steps, we can actually make it happen. Recent research has proved that parents and teachers can greatly increase the chances that their children and students will grow up to be happy, responsible adults by instilling certain qualities that might not seem of paramount importance but in fact are-inner qualities such as optimism, playfulness, a can-do attitude, and connectedness (the feeling of being a part of something larger than yourself). While traditional advice urges parents to instill discipline and a strong work ethic in their children, that advice can backfire when put into practice. The child may resist or do precisely the opposite of what is asked or even comply, but joylessly. That joylessness can last a whole life long.
We need a more reliable route to lifelong joy than can be provided by lectures on discipline or rewards for high grades and hard work. Of course, discipline and hard work matter, as do grades and civil behavior. But how you reach those goals is key. The engine of a happy life runs better on the power of connection and play than on the power of fear and guilt.
A happy life. Such a simple term for such a universal, heartfelt goal. You may not be able to define happiness, but you know it when you see it. Can you bring to mind a happy day from your own childhood? Let me tell you about one from mine.