Scientists know how to raise happy, successful kids since 1964

Scientists know how to raise happy, successful kids since 1964
From Toddler to School Age

Have you ever wondered how to raise happy, successful kids? Today, I’ve come across an article titled: Almost everyone who is unhappy with life is unhappy for the same reasons.

My first reaction was: “Wait, what?”

It sounds like the reason for unhappiness is well known and if it’s well known, that means that the formula for happiness must be at hand too.

Ask yourself a question: what do you want most for your kids? I mean THE MOST. One word. For me, it certainly is happiness. Nothing else matters when you feel happy.

Believe in success and you will succeed

I’m sure you’ve heard this statement before. Who hasn’t… The problem is that most of us tend to think that it’s some kind of “outer space” or magical energy that ensures that you accomplish what you’ve set your mind to.

I don’t believe it, if you ask me.

In case you’re a practical person, like me, who doesn’t believe in magic, you simply have a bad luck and it doesn’t apply to you, does it? Besides, it won’t help to increase self confidence of your children.

Don’t be too quick in jumping into conclusions here. The good news is that you don’t need to be a fairy from the Little Kingdom in order to benefit from this “success magic.”

Science behind the success: there’s no fairytale

Dr. Travis Bradberry, psychologist and the award-winning coauthor of the best-selling book Emotional Intelligence 2.0, explains in his original article:

“Research from LSU shows that people who believe in themselves use more metacognitive functions than those who don’t.” They even use more of their brain capacity.

The truth is – there’s no magic involved in the above mentioned “success statement.” So what exactly happens when you set your mind to a success?

  • You’ll be looking for a way that leads to the success,
  • All your brain power is focused on your goal.
  • Your motivation is higher.
  • You work harder.
  • You’re able to think of many more solutions to the problems you encounter along the way.

All of it together will make the difference and you WILL succeed at the end, because you won’t give up trying until you do.

How does it help me to raise happy kids?

For me as a mom, the main indicator of success is the happiness of my kids. How can I help build-up self-esteem of my kids? I want my daughter and two sons to be happy and successful in life. And you’ve noticed that I don’t rely on magic.

I like answers backed-up by scientific research.

There was another research conducted by Harvard professor in 1964 which suggests that if people expect someone else to succeed, that person has much higher chance to succeed too.

Our own expectations affect other people in an enormous way. Often much more than we realize.

What happened back in 1960’s?

Researchers randomly selected pupils from primary school and told their teachers that those kids were exceptionally intelligent. Those children achieved better results not only in class but in standardized IQ tests conducted some time later as well. Impressive, right?

Believe that your child will be happy and successful

We’re back to our “success magic statement,” except now we want to implement it into the way we raise our kids.

You are standing in front of a tough task:

You need to start believing that your child will be happy and successful in life.

We tend to treat people differently if we expect them to succeed. You don’t need to teach your children any special skills or give them artificial lessons which are meant to prepare them better for life. All you need to do is start believing in themselves so they can start believing in themselves too.

Imagine how great you’d feel if you knew – for sure – that your kids will turn out just fine. The cloud of doubt would disappear from above your head and you wouldn’t worry about small everyday issues anymore.

Step-by-step guide for parents

Have to raise happy, successful kids

Believe in your child

Solely the fact that you believe in your children should be enough to have a right attitude towards them. Be patient. I know how frustrating it is to explain something 1000 times and they still don’t seem to get it. They’re not dumb, their time just hasn’t come yet.

1. Remember: The only person you can change is YOURSELF.

2. Focus on gratitude = being happy with what you have

At the beginning, you should always start with appreciating what you have.

Remind yourself often that:

  • You’re the one responsible for your own happiness.
  • You will never be happy if you’re constantly waiting for something or someone to make you happy.
  • Being happy with what you have will give you serenity and patience.
  • Gratitude will help you think more clearly and therefore you’ll be able to achieve your next goal faster.

3. Accept your child the way he is.

You don’t get to choose your children the same way as they don’t get to choose their parents. Your task is to accept them and help them grow. Respect them for who they are. Let them find their own happiness in life and believe that they will find it.

4. Focus on what he’s good at.

  • Help him identify areas in which he’s good at.
  • Spend time with him to help him learn faster what he wants to learn or what he’s interested in.
  • Explain to him that he doesn’t need to be perfect in every way.

5. Appreciate and encourage your child.

Tell your child often:
I love you.
Good job getting this done.
I know you can do it.
Don’t worry, you’ll do better next time.
It’s ok to make mistakes.
I like that you’re curious and that you ask a lot of questions. You learn a lot this way.

How to behave to encourage your child

How to encourage your child

6. Do not spoil your child.

There’s a big difference between self-confidence and self-conceit. Don’t teach your child that everything what he does is great.

  • Give your child a constructive feedback.
  • Talk more about actions and less about person (“What you did was very thoughful” instead of just “You’re great.”)
  • Teach him respect by respecting him.

7. Value your child’s opinions.

Listen to your child and try to understand him even if you don’t agree with him. Remember:

  • Your child doesn’t need to have the same opinion as you on everything just because he’s your child.
  • By listening to your child and to the other people you can get great feedback on yourself that will help you grow.
  • Earn your child’s trust and respect by being honest. Don’t expect him to like you just because you look nice and smart or because you’re his parent.
  • Apologize for your mistakes.

8. Take action and keep on trying.

Don’t wait around if something isn’t the way you want or if you’re not getting expected result right away. Actively seek the solution to your problem.

You can actually learn persistence from your children. They’re very good at it. They wouldn’t learn anything (walking, talking, building towers from blocks…) if they gave up after the first try (or if they wouldn’t try at all in the first place).


Everyday you have a privilege to spend time with someone who’s predestined to be happy and successful in life. You can either help him on his way to get there sooner or you can be the one who holds him back and restrain him from reaching his happiness. The choice is yours.

The drawing of family in our infographics The staircase of happiness was designed by brgfx / Freepik.

About Jarmila

I’m a mom of three (8, 6, 4). For me, having kids means my biggest dream coming true. It’s blessing from God to have them. Although, it still applies, that children are best when they’re asleep. And on photos, too. Every night when they’re all 3 fast asleep, I go to check on them and I watch them with a smile on my face. Their breath is calm and their little faces are so beautiful and gentle. I think of all the funny things they’ve said and done that day. Or even naughty little things they’ve done. I just smile and enjoy the moment and the quiet in the house :)