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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

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  1,314 ratings  ·  171 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, 256 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Ballantine Books (first published January 1st 2010)
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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 ·  1,314 ratings  ·  171 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!
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.
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: parenting, nonfiction
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 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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jan 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: parenting
Good advice. Intuitive and simple but not simplistic. A helpful guide.
May 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Rozana AlBanawi
May 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
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 rated it really liked it
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
May 07, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 14, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Neha Pol
Jan 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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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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