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Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents
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Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  1,061 Ratings  ·  157 Reviews
What do we wish most for our children? Next to being healthy, we want them to be happy, of course! Fortunately, a wide array of scientific studies show that happiness is a learned behavior, a muscle we can help our children build and maintain.

Drawing on what psychology, sociology, and neuroscience have proven about confidence, gratefulness, and optimism, and using her own
Paperback, 185 pages
Published March 1st 2011 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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A really good summary of much of the current research on what is best for kids. If you aren't into reading parenting books, but want to know what research is saying about best practices when it comes to parenting, this is a great place to start. My notes below:

Raising Happiness by Christine Carter

1. Take care of yourself first; do the things that make you happy (it's not selfish, it's healthy)
• If you aren't yet motivated to improve the way you fight (with your parenting partner), consider this:
This book got some nice mentions on BoingBoing and I'll agree that it's a good read. Carter does a nice job of distilling a lot of science that's been done about the effect of various parenting techniques into ten lessons with tips and takeaways. A few thoughts:

* Steps one, two, and nine are broad approaches having to do with setting up a joyful environment. Some of these seem obvious to me (interview and carefully consider your child care providers?) while some are good reminders or new inform
Sep 12, 2012 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I can't even remember at this point how I came across this book, but boy am I glad I read it. I am a happy person and I was very interested in reading about how to raise happy children, how to give your children the tools to find happiness within themselves and be able to problem solve and face difficult challenges.

The author breaks this book into 10 chapters, each covering a concept: Put on Your Own Oxygen Mask First; Build a Village; Expect Effort, Forgiveness and Optimism; Raise Their Emotio
Apr 08, 2013 Meganjenk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read a lot of parenting books for insight and inspiration, and don't usually put them on goodreads since I don't ever get through the whole thing, just read bits and pieces. But I really loved this one and read the whole thing. It distills most of the advice from other books into smaller and more doable chunks, providing the research behind it, and then great ideas she used to implement it. So whereas you might read a whole book on emotional intelligence, here you can read one insightful chapt ...more
Feb 07, 2011 Darlene rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Ten steps to raising happy kids, and being happier yourself. Sounds pretty simple. Look after yourself first, build a village, encourage effort, Choose gratitude, teach emotional intelligence explicitly, motivate through empathy and reason, teach self-discipline, Live in the now, let kids learn social and problem solving skills through play in a nurturing environment, eat dinner together. All good stuff, written in an engaging manner with plenty of anecdotes about how the author got it wrong on ...more
Aug 08, 2012 Helena rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, parenting
I wanted to like this book but couldn't get past the first few chapters, and found myself skimming those. A lot of it seemed to focus as much on one's own happiness as one's children's, and for that topic I like Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project better.
Oct 27, 2010 Nancy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very readable with some good reminders and practical advice.
Jan 21, 2017 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
Good advice. Intuitive and simple but not simplistic. A helpful guide.
May 03, 2015 JaNel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
This is one of the better parenting books I've read. It has many specific ideas on how to be happy in general and how to apply it to parenting.

p. 2 In Marriage
-spend 2 min. every morning to find out what's going on in their day
-spend 20 min. every day after work to chat and catch up
-5 min. every day to be appreciative of something specific he's done
-5 min. every day to snuggle, touch
-Two hours every week to spend together=date night

p. 20 "Kids are great perceivers of emotion, but poor interprete
Sarah Eiseman
Apr 25, 2011 Sarah Eiseman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Today’s book was formally a parenting book on raising happy kids, written by Christine Carter, PhD, but was definitely a book that had some transferable lessons for anyone. Carter is a happiness expert at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center and has two kids, whom she regularly uses as examples during the course of the book.

As someone who used to read exclusively non-fiction books, I feel I’m a pretty good critic of a book like this–even a parenting one–before I get too far into it. I defin
May 29, 2010 Rozana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am so happy that I have bought this book and read it in less than a week.
It is recently published (2010) and it's packed with the latest research studies and findings (mostly post-2000) related to raising happy children in today's challenging and consumer-based world! The studies presented help parents apply the techniques in a simple day-to-day manner. The author suggests very practical and easy parenting methods to apply in every day life.
I have already put into practice so many things tha
Jan 16, 2016 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Author Christine Carter, from UC Berkely Greater Good in Action Science-based practices for a meaningful life, hits the perfect balance between clear, simple, and practical steps, strategies and habits that are backed by a current review of literature in psychology and sociology. A quick and easy read to do as audio. No need to take notes, author’s website provides great worksheets and a nice summary at the end (11:25 from end of audio).Also provide an excellent review of the literature on choos ...more
Estibaliz Delgado
De los mejores libros de Parenting que he leído en mi vida. El libro es una extraordinaria recopilación de estudios e investigaciones aplicadas a mejorar el rol de los padres de familia y de sus hijos. Los 10 puntos son explicados ampliamente con ejemplos sencillos, que muestran, los alcances en la profesión de ser padre. Al fin y al cabo nunca es tarde para enderezar el camino. Extraordinarios ejemplos de padres como entrenadores emocionales, creadores de un ambiente de armonía y seguridad para ...more
May 07, 2010 Angie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A really good parenting book. Most of the principles were not new, but I liked the way the author gave practical ways of implementing the concepts in her "Try this" sections. It was well-written. It didn't make me feel guilty. Like all parenting books, there is a plethora of good advice, mostly for a little older kids (3+). This book seemed unique in that I wasn't overwhelmed. I felt like I really could do what the author suggested and start with just one area, one technique. It wasn't condescen ...more
Neha Pol
Jan 04, 2014 Neha Pol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really loved this book. Picked it up randomly from a book store because I loved the title of the book, and for me that is what parenting is about- Raising happiness. I like that this book is not preachy and the author gives several instances where she herself goofed up! Parenting can be a lot of pressure, but I do feel with simple things in mind, one can raise happy (and healthy) children and manage to not get stressed out in the process! How simple this is, I will find out in the coming years, ...more
I appreciate what Carter is trying to do here, and I wanted to like this book more. There were a few helpful takeaways, but somehow I'm left with the panicky feeling that I should be doing MORE! and Different! and The Opposite of What Common Sense Would Dictate! and it's a bit overwhelming. Futhermore, despite the statistics Carter cites (and I've seen similar ones in Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project), I remain largely unconvinced that my doing things "right" as a parent will magically imp ...more
Jennifer Phillips
There's some good info in this book and helpful reminders on how to focus on what's important, especially as a parent. If you like more background on the why behind recommended strategies, you'll like what is provided in this book. If you're a "less is more" reader, you might find yourself skipping through some of the research and rationales. I did but it could be no fault of the book and my impatience only. I've also been reading lots of business books for my work right now, and wanted to read ...more
Sep 27, 2011 Heather rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really, really, really wanted to like this book. I thought I was going to find it compelling, hard to put down...that it would make me a better parent. I'm not sure it did any of those things. I do think I know more about Christine Carter's kids than I ever needed to know. There was not enough science and WAY too much "Though I'm writing this book, I screw up a LOT". Many people might find the author's willingness to point out her own mistakes to be refreshing or make her more accessable, but ...more
Nov 12, 2012 Kristy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
Lots of good practices in this book. It may not be the end-all message for parenting, but it is based on research and chock full of valuable action plans.

By the way, it is not a book about making your kids feel happy all the time. Raising Happiness addresses the emotional needs of human beings. Happy kids who grow up to be successful (I know these are vague adjectives in themselves, but they are defined to a certain extent for the book's purposes) have had moments of failure and forged habits of
Cristol Rippe
This is a relatively short, interesting book, that could have been much shorter still if the author had gotten rid of all of the repetition. Several of the ideas are common sense (parental involvement), others are good reminders (practice gratitude), and a few were interesting (how to best praise your children and avoid common traps like perfectionism). Worth a quick spin through and got some ideas of things I will try, although Barrett is definitely on the very young side of the spectrum in whi ...more
Read this for a parents' book club at Isobel's school. It is full of good ideas that are backed up by research, but I just don't really like advice/selfhelp books. The author's tone and style got on my nerves.
I am trying to incorporate a few ideas- pushing for more family dinners, asking the kids to tell me three good things each day, going easy on the non-effort-based praise- so I suppose that's something. Certain studies described have really stuck with me. But with these types of books I jus
Jun 26, 2010 Anna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, parenting
If you have kids of any age, this is worth a read. It provides several useful and easy to implement tips that are well supported by research. The best part of this book in my opinion is its emphasis on empirical research. Carter consistently cites the big names in the field. What I didn't really care for was Carter's over reliance on personal stories about her kids to illustrate the points. In some places the book can read a little like a memoir. Some people might really like this aspect of it b ...more
Sara Elkin
Aug 26, 2010 Sara Elkin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: parenting
If you aren't up to date on the latest parenting advice, this books is a good place to start. The author basically summarizes the work of other parenting philosophies, and wraps it all together with her own expertise on cultivating happy children. As with all parenting books, you must take it as a buffet - try this and that, but stick with the stuff that works for you and your family. (On a side note, I always appreciate experts who tell their own experiences... especially how they've messed up. ...more
Zach Copley
Kind of a slog but now I feel up-to-date on the current popular science wisdom on parenting. (And of course I feel like a bad parent for not living up to the standards outlined in the book.) At least I didn't have to watch Oprah or Dr. Oz to get this information.

The big question I have is, how will these "science based" parenting best practices stand the test of time. Will it be like dietary and nutritional recommendations, in which "a solid body of research" says that eggs cause heart disease,
Apr 06, 2012 Kirsten rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book and actually read it twice. There is a ton of advice on raising your kids and helping them become responsible, kind, grateful kids. Putting it into practice is the trick. I really liked it because she is not the "model" mother who does everything right, but tells you of her experiences as a single mother, her mistakes, and how she makes things work. I think I will read this every 6 months to help remind me of all the little things I can do to help things run a bit more ...more
Apr 27, 2011 Anne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting thoughtful book. Not hokey. The author is not speaking as the epitome of perfect parenting and makes that clear.

Some atrocious editing errors, for example the Italian educational philosophy that has taken the world of early education by storm is NOT Emilio Reggio.
But I tried not to be overcome by the editing errors

I think this book will be a helpful resource for some of the parents I work with at nursery school.
Probably most directly helpful to the parents of children under 12.
Dianna Caley
Jan 13, 2014 Dianna Caley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book. The author is fallible and very upfront about her own mistakes which makes her prescription for improved parenting seem much more palatable and attainable than other books I have read on this subject. The other thing that made this book so appealing is the goal. That should be the number one goal of any parent and this book talks about reaching that goal, but explicitly rejects the idea that feeding materialistic impulses or rewarding bad behavior will create long term happine ...more
Jeff Ford
Aug 03, 2014 Jeff Ford rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A quick read that was useful but clearly written with women in mind. Biggest take away, for me, was to let your kids play. This is a good reminder for the type of parent who is likely to read this book. Unstructured play is the most important extra curricular activity. Some of the topics were a little too new age for my kids. If I tried to get my 6 and 9 year olds to meditate they would probably roll their eyes. Still, there were enough gems in here to make it worth reading.
Heather Lin
Mar 09, 2014 Heather Lin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was really helpful for ideas of how to handle the behavior of the three-year-old I nanny. Basically, you have to change your behavior and your reactions, and they'll catch on. The writing was approachable, the anecdotes entertaining. It kept my attention, and it even gave me some ideas of how to improve my relationship not only with kids but also with my husband. Definitely recommended reading. I'm sure I'll be reading it again when I have kids of my own.
Jul 02, 2014 Erica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I hate parenting books, but this book is nothing like your average "what to expect" parenting book. It changed the way I view my role as a Mother and even a year later, I'm still mentally referencing things I learned in this book. It applies scientific studies on happiness to the authors personal experiences as a parent to highlight the habits in life that are shown to make our children and ourselves happier.
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