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Raising Happiness: A Review

March 7, 2010

I was fortunate to hear Dr. Christine Carter speak at a conference last year. I was inspired to see someone speaking so effectively about positive psychology as related to children and parenting. So much of what we usually see and hear with regard to parenting involves trying to correct behaviors or deal with existing problems. Dr. Carter’s message resonated strongly with my own of trying to educate parents about how to set a strong foundation from the beginning and raise happy, successful children.

I just finished reading Carter’s new parenting book, Raising Happiness*. I have many parenting books on my shelves that I recommend to parents. I’ve read parts of all of them, but this is the first parenting book that I have read from cover to cover in a long time. I even love the references in this book! What I love about this book is that while it is grounded in good social science research (explaining my fondness for the references), it is written in a very personable and relatable style. Carter shares much of her own parenting ups and downs and also provides practical exercises and activities for parents to apply with their own families. Divorced parents will find Carter to be sympathetic to their situation as well as she writes about her own experiences of being a divorced mother of two young girls and dealing with the challenges of cooperating with an ex-spouse.

While you may also want to read this book cover to cover, the reality is that many of us don’t have that kind of time while we’re in the midst of raising our kids and tending to our careers. Raising Happiness is the kind of book that you can choose just one chapter to focus on at a time. Carter describes ten steps for raising happy kids. Each step is a chapter. There is no particular order or formula recommended for which parents must follow the steps. I would suggest reading the introduction and/or scanning the table of contents to help you decide which steps are most relevant for your family. Once you get a good start with one step, you can always go back to the book for ideas to keep moving forward. The ten steps are as follows:

  1. Take care of yourself
  2. Build a village
  3. Praise effectively
  4. Choose gratitude, forgiveness and optimism
  5. Raise their Emotional Intelligence
  6. Form happiness habits
  7. Teach self-discipline
  8. Teach inner peace
  9. Rig their environment for happiness
  10. Eat dinner together (my favorite of course! www.dinnertogether.com)

Each of these steps presents its own set of challenges. Carter provides some resources for additional information on each of the steps if you find yourself wanting more. If you are searching for a parenting book that pulls together some of the most important research on children’s happiness with sensible advice that you can put into action, I would highly recommend this book.

*Carter, C. (2010). Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents. New York: Ballantine Books.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. March 7, 2010 1:58 pm

    Thanks for the review! I’ve been looking for a good parenting book so will definytely try it out.

  2. March 8, 2010 1:38 am

    I am also looking for a parenting books and I’ve been reading lot of them. Thanks for the review and I hope i can find this book at the bookstore here in our place.

    • drcuneo permalink*
      March 8, 2010 10:36 am

      If you can’t find the book locally, I know that it is sold online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Let me know what you think if you do find it and get a chance to read it.

  3. March 12, 2010 5:49 pm

    This sounds like what I have been looking for. I never have time to read a book from cover to cover anymore, but feel at times that I am being challenged by my kids. I know I need to review (or validate) some of the parenting strategies that I am using.

  4. March 13, 2010 8:44 am

    Thanks for the review. I am always on the lookout for great parenting books.

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