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“As parents we tend to overdo it, which leads to kids who don’t know how to create meaningful experiences out of boredom.” —Andrew Tucker, director of counseling services and student engagement, Boulder Valley School District

Happy Learners

“Children who are happy inside are open to other people, make friendships and are willing to take academic risks in school, because they are not afraid of consequences,” Tucker says. As children grow, though, the pressure to keep up and compete increases, especially here in the Boulder area. “We live in one of the most educated cities in America,” Tucker points out. “There is a lot of expectation around college admission and a fear of failure that can lead to unhappiness. I believe if we relaxed our expectations, we would have happier kids, especially in adolescence.” Mary Gail Becker, Ph.D., a Boulder psychologist who has worked with children for 35 years, agrees. “It’s important for children to hear that it is good enough this time,” says Becker. “Good enough is OK.” A child who is unhappy in school, on the other hand, may lose interest in activities she used to love; younger children may developmentally regress or actively act out, while older kids may suddenly sleep more or lose their appetite or energy. One Bored Kid Does a Happy Summer Make

This upcoming summer break is a great opportunity to try a simpler, slower approach to parenting. Structure and learning continued >

Books for Raising Happy Children Free-Range Kids: How To Raise Safe, Self-Reliant Children (Without Going Nuts With Worry) by Lenore Skenazy. The author also has a website at FreeRangeKids.com. Nurtureshock: New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies To Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind by Daniel J. Siegeland, Tina Payne Bryson Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science Of Contentment, Calm, And Confidence by Rick Hanson Overindulged Children: A Parent’s Guide To Mentoring by James A. Fogarty

May 2014 | Boulder Lifestyle 29

Boulder Lifestyle May 2014  

May 2014 Issue of Boulder Lifestyle

Boulder Lifestyle May 2014  

May 2014 Issue of Boulder Lifestyle