Secrets to raising happy kids

Make cementing the connection with your spouse a priority if you want your kids to be happy.

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Samantha Chen started dating her husband at 19. Then energetic college students, the couple bonded over their love for biking, often taking trips to Malaysia with like-minded friends. On weekends, the couple indulged their love for food and photography.

“Every day was like Valentine’s Day,” Chen quips.

But the rosy relationship underwent a drastic change when their first child, Koby, arrived five years into their marriage. Chen spent vast amounts of time caring for her son — from feeding to taking him for his medical appointments. To make matters worse, her husband had to travel frequently for work. So, there were even periods when she would not see him for days at a time.

Chen’s situation is not unique. Many new parents are so swamped by their children’s needs that they find themselves neglecting each other. However, Elvira Tan, a marriage specialist with Focus on the Family Singapore, warns against making this common mistake.

“A strong marriage just makes parenting that much easier.”

Tan notes that most couples focus all their time on parenting duties when they should be spending more time with each other. She adds, “A strong marriage just makes parenting that much easier. A married couple who spends time with each other and meets each other’s needs will stay emotionally connected to each other. It’s less daunting to face parenting challenges together as a couple.”

Conflict may increase when there’s a lack of communication between a couple. According to a 2009 study by the California Center for Population Research at the University of California-Los Angeles, adolescents with parents who clash show poorer academic results and increased substance use. Needless to say, these children also admit to feelings of insecurity and emotional instability.

Click to find out how your relationship as a couple affects your children…