Friday, August 28, 2015

If you're happy and you know it, tell your Mom

There are certain questions that I ask my son frequently:
  • Did you know that you are very special to me?
  • What questions did you ask today?
  • Did you flush and wash your hands?
  • What did you do today?
  • Seriously, did you flush and wash your hands?
  • Are you happy?
It's that last question that has been on my mind lately. Because sometimes, it is really, really hard to tell.

The Journal of Experimental Child Psychology recently published a study trying to determine if parents could accurately report on how happy their children were.

And we suck at it.

Researchers had tweens and teens assess their own happiness and then asked parents to assess their children's happiness. It turns out that parents were overestimating the happiness of their tweens (ages 10 and 11) and underestimating the happiness of their teens (ages 15 and 16).

Furthermore, parents tended to mirror the perceived happiness of their children to their own happiness levels. This bias (if I am happy, then my child is happy) is hard to overcome.

It turns out that the best way to determine if your child is happy or not is to ask them.

How sure are you that your tween is happy? Tell me in the comments.

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