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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

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  1,387 ratings  ·  180 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
Hardcover, 232 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  1,387 ratings  ·  180 reviews

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Oct 17, 2013 rated it liked it
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:
May 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Sharon Leger
Nov 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Great book, helpful tips. Keeping this one, for sure!
Jan 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: psychology, parenting
This is a good solid parenting book which integrates current research. Much of it is research I personally have heard before from the leaders in the field. There were a lot of great takeaways and I appreciated that the author shared her successes and failures. Just because you know the information, doesn't mean it is easy to implement. One of the things I will take away is having dinner as a family, not just eating the meal, but preparing, eating and cleaning up. When I do dinner this way, it is ...more
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book took me a while but the knowledge is priceless!! Highly recommend!!
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Megan Jacobsmeyer
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I like the research and her comfortable writing style. She shares many great practices and understandings. I don't agree with all her perspectives and think the later half of the book is more redeeming of the valuable lessons she is trying to get across. A worthy read for parents and those who work with children. ...more
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
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. ...more
Oct 11, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Not judgy. Full of practical and doable advice.
Oct 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very readable with some good reminders and practical advice.
Oct 25, 2012 rated it it was ok
It had some treasures, but for the most part I just wanted her to stop talking.
Jun 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
This is a hard book to read with teenagers that you didn't raise. Starting these habits early makes the job much easier, and I spent most of the pages thinking, "well, yes, i would have LOVED to raise them practicing gratitude and modeling loving-kindness!"
Still some useful thoughts, and a reminder that assuming teens will hate implementing gratitude practices means there really are bigger problems at work.

The parts that stuck with me:

7 ways to raise kind children:
-model kindness
-be (inspirati
Mar 02, 2022 rated it liked it
Shelves: parenting, self-help
A little dated in her attitudes towards neurodiversity. And I got a sense that she wrote this book because of how much she struggled to parent positively.

Putting that aside, the recommendations are pretty simple, even if some are problematic:
1- establish a really positive, happy relationship with your partner
2- practice loving kindness, gratitude, and giving with other people
3- praise effort not result
4- choose forgiveness, optimism, and gratitude
5- empathize, label and validate all feelings
6- m
Jul 25, 2017 rated it did not like it
Just bloody awful. Don't bother unless you lack basic common sense. "Involved fathers have proven a positive influence on children, so pay your child support." Carter has a very narrow focus on the world and in parenting. Yes, your a single mother, you've mentioned it about twenty times in the first two chapters. It maybe that this book is specifically geared toward that audience. "Bring sunshine into others life"; seriously annoying mixed with ignorance. Much better advice on parenting out ther ...more
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it
So many moms I know recommended this book! I don’t at all disagree with the advice offered, I just didn’t love the tone/personality of the book and not sure how much here was shocking, surprising, or new. (And despite the author’s AWESOME background as sociologist and ED of UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, I found it pretty light on the science details!) Either way, certainly worthwhile reminders.
I bet this author has a condensed version of this book as a magazine article or “top 10 t
Mar 07, 2021 rated it really liked it
In only two months of more routine, regular reading it is reassuring to see names and practices pop-up in different self-improvement (or family-improvement!) books. Here the growth mindset, mindfulness, and other practices show up. Reviewing ten steps there are one-two I just started doing, a few more that we have done for years, and several more that I need- and want- to figure out how to incorporate into our family habits. Definitely tagging this book on the 'revisit for practice tips' shelf. ...more
Sep 07, 2022 rated it really liked it
I’d probably rate this closer to 3.5 stars just because I wasn’t a big fan of the writing style. The information presented is great and on par with many of the parenting books I’ve read. I also love that Carter encourages the parent to practice these happiness skills. I even recommended the book to my mom to check out so she could learn some new skills. I love how this book is broken into 10 steps, but I felt like the good information of how to practice these steps were a bit lost in the rhetori ...more
Tiffany Tubville
Mar 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed the science-based (both psychological and physiological) information and description of research studies. There were some great tips to follow in the “try this” sections, which related the information into real life situations. I usually read from Christian authors so it was different for me to read suggestions for Buddhist meditation, but it was still a great parenting book and I agreed with a lot of the points made.
Cindy Deane
Feb 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you have seen me in the last week, you have heard me talking about this book. I loooooooved it and I recommend it to all parents. I recommend it to grandparents. I recommend it to people in general because all the suggestions for helping kids/teens are also helpful for adults.

There were two things I did not like about this book.
1. The title- it sounds too good to be true so it made me doubt the value before I started.
2. The section discussing rewards for kids- I do not agree with bribery
Kristin A. Kirby
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wish I had read this right before having kids! The subtitle captures it nicely: 10 simple steps for more joyful kids and happier parents. These were all steps that really seemed doable to me, and gave me some hope. And I absolutely loved how everything was research-based. I would recommend this for all parents.
Aug 19, 2021 rated it really liked it
This is a useful for book for parents who are trying to become more effective and purposeful win their parenting. It’s full of scientifically proven parenting techniques, and the author’s tone is friendly and approachable. I have already started making changes to my parenting habits thanks to this book, and I expect positive change to result.
Jenny Morgan
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really liked her writing style. It wasn't too text bookish. Her try this sections were great. Most of her steps I've heard before in other parenting books and it's good to have them reenforced again. ...more
Feb 21, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Clear organization. Science and research based, but conversational enough to make it an enjoyable read (Ie: not dry, not a lecture.). True life examples. Fitting for parents of kids of a wide age range. I'm sure I will read this again - and I took notes :) ...more
Ashleigh McClain
May 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The best non Christian parenting book I have read in a while!
Oct 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
There were some great suggestions in the book but I was hoping to like the book more than I did. It didn't hold my attention as well as other parenting books. ...more
Mell Meunier
Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a really good read with some excellent well researched advice for raising kids in a modern world.
Nov 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
It's good and easy to follow fact, some you may find yourself already doing. Simple steps to take to get to happiness! ...more
Jul 03, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
Nothing new here, but easily digested.
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Christine Carter, Ph.D., is a sociologist and author of The New Adolescence, The Sweet Spot and Raising Happiness. A sought-after keynote speaker and senior fellow at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center, she draws on scientific research to help people lead their most courageous, joyful, meaningful, and productive lives.

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