Welcome to our first summer book club meeting, a discussion of Raising Happiness prompted by Katy Keim of BookSnob.  We’ll be posting Katy’s review of Raising Happiness chapter by chapter each Thursday; I’ll be moderating the discussion thereafter. This book club first ran on Motherese, so you might want to check out the comments there, too, or Motherese blogger Kristen’s related posts (this week see this post).

Even if you aren’t reading along, we hope you’ll join the conversation.  What came to mind as you read the chapter being discussed, or Katy’s review?  You can subscribe to the comments thread for each posting and jump in. 

And now, I turn it over to Katy!

Want Your Kids to Be Happy? You Go First.

By Katy Keim

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In Chapter One, Carter, thank God, gives us permission to take care of ourselves. First. This isn’t just a selfish act. It’s critical to the success of raising happy kids.

“Do as I say, not as I do.” That was a favorite phrase of my own parents, but the research tells us humans are built for mimicry. If we act anxious or dissatisfied, our kids will sense that and imitate it, no matter what we tell them. So those of you who have been reading books like The Happiness Project or going to that well deserved yoga class or meeting friends for cocktails, good for you. You are modeling for your kids what makes you happy and showing them that you are committed to it.

Chapter 1 A-ha Moment: Fighting fair. Carter tells us that how we have conflict and eventually resolve it is critical behavior to model for our kids.

Now, I have a pretty darn good marriage, but all I could think of is the handful of times hubby and I have had a disagreement which created a chilly atmosphere, only to let it “blow over” in a day or so. There is rarely a public apology or making up. We often just wear it out rather than work it out.

Chapter 1 describes how kids often think they are responsible for the conflict and it causes them stress. Showing them how you make up relieves them of this anxiety AND shows them how to fight fair. Good stuff. Score that in the column of things to improve.

Discussion Questions

▪ What A-ha moments, if any, did you have while reading Chapter 1?
▪ What new approaches will you try this week because of your reading?

Links to related motherese postings:

Katy’s original review of Raising Happiness
If Mama Ain’t Happy, Ain’t Nobody Happy

© 2010 Christine Carter, Ph.D.

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