Being a parent, especially a single parent, in this day and age is very stressful. In the fast-paced society of work, school, activities, and social life, there is little time to relax, or to take time out for yourself. There may be guilt involved in thinking that you are not doing enough for your child as well.
All this worrying, all the stress and guilt, will only cause problems in the parent-child relationship, and will continue in a cycle throughout the generations. The most important thing you can do, to be a positive role model and parent for your child, is to be a happy parent.
Being a Role Model
A parent is nothing if not a role model for his or her child. If a parent is happy, a child is more apt to be happy as well. A child will mimic parental behavior, and learn what type of behavior is not only acceptable, but worthwhile as well. Guiding your child to understand that being happy is not only allowable, but preferable, is a great lesson. That may sound very simplistic, but the world is filled with people who seem to enjoy, or just be stuck in the habit of, wallowing in misery.
Being an Active Parent
A happy parent is an active parent. This does not mean that you are active in every single thing your child wants to do, or even that you allow them to do everything that they want. Whatever your child is involved in, however, should be approached with a happy, positive attitude. This attitude will rub off on your children and make them more apt to try new things, and to try again at things they did not master the first time.
Also, being physically active can actually increase happiness by stimulating the production of seretonin to help relieve stress. Mental and physical health is interconnected with activity and fitness.
A child who witnesses his or her parent having fun doing things that interest them, are more apt to develop hobbies that they like. Rather than dedicating all of your time to ensuring that your child is having fun with activities, sports, clubs, and other pursuits, find something that you enjoy and include your child in it.
Teaching Personal Responsibility
Above all else, a parent who takes responsibility for their own happiness will teach that trait to their children as well. Far too many people hold onto depression or misery because they think “if only my husband were more…” or “if only my mother wouldn’t…” Teaching your child to be personally responsible for their own happiness is the greatest gift you can give to them.
Being a happy parent is sometimes more difficult than it sounds. Guilt, stress, and fatigue are very real factors in most lives today. However, cultivating happiness within yourself and your child is the most important thing that you can do as a parent. It not only creates a more fulfilling home and family life, it teaches important lessons for the future.