Welcome to our second summer book club meeting, a discussion of Raising Happiness prompted by Katy Keim of BookSnob.  We are posting Katy’s review of Raising Happiness chapter by chapter each Thursday. 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.

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.

Chapter 2: You Can’t Do Happiness Alone.

By Katy Keim

Katy Keim

This entire chapter was, for me, a no-brainer. If I start to feel blue, one of the first things I know I need to do (besides exercise!) is connect with someone that is important to me—make a phone call, have coffee, see a neighbor. It’s reflexive.

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Carter tells us in Chapter 2 that the strength of our social relationships will make us happier people. We can encourage our kids to be happy by helping them build social rapport with others and teaching them how to resolve conflict. Plus, we need to cultivate a sense of kindness in our kids. This basically adds up to ensuring that we are raising socially intelligent little creatures.

I don’t know about you, but I did get a bit bugged in this section as she outlined ways for “Dad to be more involved.” In my house, Dad is very involved and I somehow felt protective of him—like it belittled him and/or was insulting. Did any of you feel that way?

Chapter 2 A-ha Moment: Don’t over-reward helping behavior.

In our house, we are sometimes caught in the infinite, annoying loop of rewarding desired behavior (clean your room and you can have dessert!). Carter reminds us that it’s simply okay to expect certain behaviors. I want to start setting an expectation that kindness is a default setting that our family operates by. No surprise, they need to see me acting on this myself.

Discussion questions:

▪ What A-ha moments, if any, did you have while reading Chapter 2?
▪ 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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