If you talk with parents all over the world, most have goals for their children that they try to teach through parenting. Some parents want their children to be financially successful, some focus on raising philanthropic children, some focus on teaching the discipline of hard work. In the end, don’t we all just want our children to be happy? It sounds easy, but how do you actually teach happiness? Well, a new study, recently posted in “The INC Life” reveals the secret, and apparently, it isn’t very difficult.
This Harvard research identifies the one thing that parents can do to most likely improve their children’s chances of having a happy life, and it isn’t getting into an Ivy League College. The researchers examined data from the “Midlife in the United States” study conducted by the MacArthur Foundation Research Network on Successful Midlife Development. The study was conceived by a multidisciplinary team of scholars from fields of psychology, sociology, epidemiology, demography, anthropology, medicine, and health care policy. Their collective aim was to investigate the role of behavioral, psychological, and social factors in accounting for age-related variations in health and well-being in a national sample of Americans. The Harvard team found a correlation between those who described having warm and loving parents and who were “flourishing” in a variety of life areas. Those who remembered having warm and loving childhoods were more likely to score higher on the measures established for well-being. They discovered, as well, that those remembering warm and loving parents were less likely to engage in self-destructive behaviors.
This study, at a minimum, should help parents appreciate that the best way to prepare their children for the future and the best possible lives, the single most meaningful thing parents can provide them is consistent warmth, affection, and love. These key ingredients will set them up for a lifetime of happiness. In the end, isn’t this what really matters?