"We have it wrong about happiness," says child and family psychologist Richard Weissbourd. "All this focus on kids being happy isn’t making them happier."
In fact, says Weissbourd, author of The Parents We Mean to Be, ensuring children are happy doesn’t guarantee they grow up to be happy adults. "Happiness doesn’t automatically lead to goodness," Weissbourd wrote recently on Huffington Post.
Parents would do far better to pay attention to raising kind, good people, which is "every bit as important as raising happy and successful kids… Not only is it the right thing to do, it’s good for kids. The final irony is that the data suggest that moral and caring kids tend to be happier kids and adults… if children learn to tune in to and care about others, they’ll be able to form more meaningful relationships with friends, family members and others. And those relationships are perhaps the most durable source of happiness that we have. If children can learn to deal with conflict, adversity and suffering, they’ll also develop coping strategies that are fundamental to their long term happiness."