Nevin Noorani graduated with her Master’s in Accounting Information from Pace University, New York, and now manages the Risk and Assurance service line of the eighth largest accounting firm in the United States. While in her early twenties, she met her husband and settled in the prestigious suburban of Lake Success in New York. In 2013, opportunity came calling for her husband to take on a challenging yet fulfilling responsibility at the firm he had been serving for the last 13 years. Consequently, the family relocated to Houston, Texas.
Nevin competently manages her professional obligations, but takes her job as a mother of a seven-year-old very seriously. While she enjoys networking, reading fashion trends and succumbing to a weakness for Christian Louboutin pumps, the priceless moments spent with her daughter are what she enjoys the most. She says, “When I see my daughter set the saddle on her horse and post the trot, I find myself going back to that day on August 2, 2007, 12:06 a.m., when Rhea was born, and I wonder how did time go by so quickly.”
Taking her parenting role seriously, she has sought to expand her knowledge about the current thinking in regards to raising children. As an enthusiastic supporter of educational seminars and participant, she wants to share what she has learned with other parents. Nevin chatted with CKW Luxe about modern, progressive and practical ways of teaching and learning to teach. Recently, I was an attendee at a parent education seminar about the epidemic levels of depression, anxiety and other disorders affecting children. The presenter asked the audience, “What is the one thing that we want the most for our children?” The audience unanimously replied “happiness.” My topic thus is about raising happy children:
Keys to Raising HAPPY Children
STEP 1: Find Yourself First Your happiness as a parent influences your child’s happiness in many ways. Kids mimic their parents, especially when they are younger. So, if you model happiness and all the skills that go with it, our kids are likely to imitate what we do. I love the lines beautifully said by Og Mandino: “Realize that true happiness lies within you. Waste no time and effort searching for peace and contentment and joy in the world outside. There is no happiness in having or getting or grabbing, but only in giving. So reach out. Share. Smile. Hug.” Here’s my mantra to happiness—go out with a family member or friends and have a few laughs. A little giggle and some cheer changes the perspective of how you see situations. Just as important as it is to be socially connected, it’s to be one with yourself. Take some quiet time for yourself. One of the things that I have started to do is to write a gratitude journal. Practicing gratitude makes you feel better about your life as a whole and makes you more optimistic about the future. Before you worry about raising happy kids, get yourself together and find your happy place.
STEP 2: Effort and Enjoyment vs. Perfection I often found myself sending a message to my seven-year-old that she is naturally “gifted” and “born with talent.” But soon I realized that I was creating urgency in her to prove these “gifts” over and over again. Was I applying my “mindset” and beliefs about success? It was time to swap and understand the growth mindset. I quickly changed my message that effort is more important than achievement. I do realize that our culture values achievement over effort; however, the growth mindset thinking does lead us to define success a little differently. I now encourage practicing hard, practicing consistently and practicing with a passion. Success is sure to follow! When we feel disappointed in a child, it is important to approach this topic constructively. Outright criticism rarely achieves the results we are after. It’s best to do nothing as the first step. Wait until your emotions are in check, and bring it up later when you are able to use a tone which sounds loving rather than disappointed. It’s important to emphasize that failure is an event and not an identity. Empathize with your child and help him/her strategize on how he/she can do things differently next time.
STEP3: The Act of Gratitude and Teaching Forgiveness Practicing gratitude does not come easily: but if persistently followed, it’s a skill needed for lasting happiness. Each day, I ask my seven-year-old to tell me the good things that happened during the day. What went well for her and what were some of her challenges? Some days are filled with excitement and smiles whereas some days have complaints and whine. Encouraging kids to look hard for a reason to feel grateful for unpleasant events or relations teaches growth and helps them to accept changes. Forgiveness is another important ingredient for happiness. Children are constantly faced with mean incidents and fights. For that reason, we as parents first need to teach them to apologize and seek forgiveness for wrongs. The surest road to forgiveness is a sincere apology. Help children understand their emotions and discuss when they are bothered. We can hope for good things in life and work hard to get them, but we cannot force things to happen that are outside of our control. Instead, it’s important to see the things that are meant for you and redirect your energy towards those goals. Think optimistically with a good intent and identify the good that comes out of a difficulty. To see the glass as half full instead of half empty is what we can encourage as a parent. Point out what is good rather than what is bad, even if both are present and things appear worse than better. There will always be a learning lesson after a failure! With that thought, I wrap up seeking and making the best life has to offer! Smiles, cheers and good wishes for all.