Creative Child

We Can Raise Happier Kids. They Just Need to Stop Thinking About Themselves.

by Deborah Song

There is a growing concern that today’s kids focus too much on themselves and not enough on others. Many young people prioritize money because they think it will make them happy and fulfilled. Even young children, research shows, care more about accomplishment than being kind, in part because they believe it’s what their parents care about most. Meanwhile, there is a growing trend of substance abuse addiction, depression and sedentary lifestyles. Is it a stretch to think the two are connected? Not according to research.

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Through fMRI technology, we now know that giving activates the same parts of the brain that are stimulated by other pleasurable activities. Self-centered pursuits can also lead to happiness, as we’ve all experienced, but investing in our own happiness induces fluctuating happiness, while authentic-durable happiness results from selflessness, research shows.

Not only does selflessness lead to more happiness, but many industry experts now believe that selflessness actually leads to more success as well.

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Esther Wojcicki is a rather famous parent. She is an educator who is renown mostly for raising three successful kids. Her daughter Susan is the CEO of YouTube, Janet is a professor of pediatrics, and Anne is the co-founder and CEO of 23andMe. “They rose to the top of ultra-competitive, male-dominated professions,” said Wojcicki.

When providing much-heeded parenting advice about how to raise successful and happy kids, she had this to say.

“We’re chasing money and possessions. Not service, not purpose,” says the mom of three daughters.  “If we have a purpose at all, it’s to make ourselves happy. But if there’s one thing I know, it’s this: You’re happiest — as well as most beneficial to society — when you’re doing things to help others.”

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