What I Want for My Child?

GOALS: Parents often tell pyschologist Ivan Honey that they want their children to grow up to be physically and emotionally well, happy, resilient and well adjusted. He created the Get Happier Schools Project to teach these goals.

IT’S that time of year when young people and their parents are nervously awaiting exam results from school. Stop for a moment and ask yourself, “As a parent, what are the most important qualities and skills I want my child to have when they leave school at 17 or 18 years of age?”.

I often ask parents this question, and sometimes they will quickly tell me that they want their children to achieve well at school and attain a high score, so they can gain entrance to higher education. But then, on reflection, they will always tell me that it is even more important that their children are physically and emotionally well, happy, resilient and well adjusted.

They may have read The Age newspaper of September 18 which stated, ‘Walk into any GP waiting room in Australia and chances are most of the chairs will be occupied by patients with depression, anxiety, other mood disorders or a myriad of other psychological problems.” (‘Mental Ills the Top Reason for G.P. Visits.’)

Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.


Many parents notice signs of stress or unhappiness in their children but do nothing, hoping they will ‘grow out of it’ and that all will be well. But how do we know when it is best to do nothing or to take some action? Frequently, mental ill health can be traced back to beliefs and behaviours that developed in childhood, so it is crucial that children learn the skills and mindsets that enhance mental health and happiness.

As parents, we are all teachers, and we can help our children learn to be responsible and happy. The Get Happier Project is designed to assist children, teachers and parents, using a common framework and language. It is an approach to mental health and wellbeing that builds confidence and independence, and not dependence on a guru, fad or ‘quick fix.’ The program teaches these skills at possibly the most formative time of their lives; at primary school.

This does not mean that they never have problems. It means that when they are challenged, they have the tools to manage the problems effectively.

The Get Happier Program uses cutting edge psychology with a colourful, fun curriculum to help children understand themselves and others and get the best out of life. Even in difficult situations they learn how to be responsible for themselves and to take action to improve their situation. Find out more at gethappier.net