Happiness, parenting and raising teenage children

Happiness, parenting and raising teenage children

by Sherri Fisher for Positive Psychology News Daily

Recently I_ã_ve had several meetings with parents of high schoolers. Like most parents of kids this age, they are consumed with concerns about their child_ã_s achievement: How does my kid really measure up? Will he get into a good college? Will the money needed for that education be worth it in the long run? How much more do I need to be doing to be sure that my kid is the best that she can be?

These same parents say, often without seeing any conflict, _ã–I just want my kid to be happy._ã

Social Comparison

One of the unpleasant accompaniments of this sort of angst is social comparison. Social comparison occurs when we compare our own characteristics to those of others. We can compare up, down, or laterally. Which of those we choose can depend on our motives for the comparison and also impact the results. People may have a typical direction of social comparison that is a preferred way of collecting social evidence about whether or not they measure up. At its worst, social comparison can lead to:

  • negative emotions such as sadness, anger, or disgust
  • overtaxing and overscheduling kids in an effort to develop them into value-added college applicants

  • burning out students and therefore impeding their progress

  • teaching unfortunate messages about the expendability of others on one_ã_s way to the top

  • preventing much-needed friendships among competing peer parents

  • undermining the efforts of teachers to be effective teaching kids whose parents consider achievement their child_ã_s right

So what happens when parents compare their children with other children? Sometimes, it_ã_s good, generating relief and positive information that progress is being made. For example, when attending a school concert, art show or athletic event, parents compare their student to others and are often surprised and proud of what their progeny can produce.
But if you find yourself challenged to see the good in your teenager, you can choose parenting behaviors that will help…

Keep reading HERE to find out more about positive psychology applied to parenting and raising children who know how to create happiness.