Analysis of the Book The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness
The work comprises a deep analysis of the book written by the leading ADHD expert Dr. Ned Hallowell, who describes a 5-step plan aimed at enhancing the chances of a child to live a meaningful and joyful life. The author insists that the key elements of the happy children’s life are play, connectedness, practice, recognition, and mastery, which are reflected in the self-perpetuating cycle, where one step leads to another. According to the explanations of the author represented in The Childhood Roots of Adulthood Happiness: Five Steps to Help Kids Create and Sustain Lifelong Joy, the fundamental concept provides the key how to raise children with a healthy self-esteem, spiritual values, and moral awareness. The book consists of 15 chapters, which describe the specific steps that a person should take in order to increase the chance of a child to find happiness that will increase in the adulthood. Thus, the analysis focuses on the investigation of the five steps proposed by the author and their effectiveness, which requires the productive work of the parents and teachers, who by using the specific approach have all the chances to make the childhood happy and jolly.
The first chapter is called “What Do I Really Want for My Children.” In this chapter, Dr.Ned Hallowell tells that parents should be aware of what they really want from their children. In fact, the majority of people want to see their children happy. If parents want to reach their aim, they have to emphasize on such significant aspects as optimism, connectedness, and playfulness on a constant basis (Hallowell, 2003). The traditional advices induce parents to work hard on the ethical aspects during the process of bringing up of their children. However, such position often backfires when put into the practice (Hallowell, 2003). The author insists that joy can be more easily reached by using the power of play and connection as well as can be destroyed by the power of fear and guilt (Hallowell, 2003). Another significant question parents should ask themselves is “How to define the essence of the happiness for the family?” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi led the author to the conclusion that happiness is when some feelings or actions bring a great jolly and enjoyment to a certain person (Hallowell, 2003). The research shows that people are happier in the state of “flow” when the person is one unit with what he/she is doing. Children call such condition “play” (Hallowell, 2003). Thus, parents should apply many efforts to make the play of children positive with colorful memories and pleasant experience. Dr. Ned Hallowell emphasizes that the single greatest need in the life of a child is the emotional security and connectedness that is beyond the clothing, shelter, and food (Hallowell, 2003). Connectedness induces the formation of the magic, which should be in the life of every child. Love activeness is one of the connectedness’s reflections that seed the growth of happiness in the adulthood. The crucial aspect that has to be understood by parents is that they should never forget how deeply the children need to feel that (Hallowell, 2003). If parents want to realize such hypothesis effectively, they should trust them, bring enjoy, and play letting children to be an active part of the life.
The second chapter of the book is called “A Crazy Love That Never Quits: The Parent’s Magical Tool.” The author begins with the explanation that being a parent is difficult, because their responsibility is equal to those of teachers or coaches. The collaboration of parents with teachers can steer kids into the right path (Hallowell, 2003). Dr. Ned Hallowell insists that all people need to feel the support of others and create a plan for their further actions. Thus, parents have to teach their children not to be shy, ask for the help, and never pretend that there is no problem (Hallowell, 2003). If a person denies the help, he/she automatically receives a substantial amount of stress. Parents should induce their children to work as that is an integral part of life, which helps to contribute to the successful achievement of the mastery that will prevent the occurrence of stress in future (Hallowell, 2003). The other significant factor in the children’s upbringing is teaching to avoid sadness. Extroversion and optimism should be significantly controlled by parents and made to be the root of the childhood, because that can significantly improve the emotional health of a child that will be promoted and motivated by getting the good grades at school or college (Hallowell, 2003). The author also mentions the research of the psychology professor, Jerome Kagan, who explains the roots of unhappiness, which is reflected in the parent’s expectation from children more than they can deliver (Hallowell, 2003). It is more significant to raise a happy child than the Nobel Prize Winner. Besides, there are numerous approaches that can help for happiness and work to go hand in hand (Hallowell, 2003). Parents should set the goals basing on the interests and curiosity of their children that will give more positive results than the pressure on them.
The Chapter 3 is called “Think Back…: Let Your Own Children Teach You Now.” The analysis of the chapter showed that one of the crucial determinants in terms of being a good parent is an ability to reflect upon the own childhood and try to learn from it. The parent who is aware of the made mistakes can easily avoid their repetition (Hallowell, 2003). For example, parents who abuse their children were often also abused. Thus, it is crucial to understand how painful it is to experience an abuse and try to avoid it, because it brings a substantial amount of stress to the kids. It would be effective to recollect the feelings from the childhood, which will help in identifying the problematic aspects that people tend to apply while bringing up their children (Hallowell, 2003). For example, being in the calm condition, a person should close eyes and ask the questions, which interest him/her (Hallowell, 2003). The conscious will definitely help in finding the answers to the questions based on the previous experience. Such self-analysis will help in being aware of the negative aspects that parents use in raising their children. The approach induces the understanding of the fact that a cruel teacher will never help in reaching a positive result, hence will contribute towards making the child unhappy (Hallowell, 2003).
In Chapter 4 “Confident, Can-Do Kids: Where Do They Come From?”, the author asserts that the best way to do well is when a child feels secured, which can be reflected in the relations with parents, their connection, and emotional strength. Dr. Ned Hallowell represents the example of one girl who was abandoned by the parents but had a grandmother, with whom she had a strong connection (Hallowell, 2003). The author convinces that the child can have the pivotal emotional connection not only with the mother, but also with other relatives or teachers. The significant factor that causes such connection is charismatic and caring aspects. However, the responsible adult should also understand that a strong connection does not mean a constant and excessive security from all problems (Hallowell, 2003). It would be more rational to teach the child to never lose the heart, even in case of the disappointment. Children watch and learn how their parents cope with the failures (Hallowell, 2003). Thus, it is essential to model the ability to deal effectively with the adversity showing the children a good example.
The Chapter 5 “The Children Roots of Childhood Happiness: A Repeating Cycle” is a real crux of the book. It consists of the seven pages and outlines the information represented in the previous chapters. Dr. Ned Hallowell is searching the key to happiness as a self-contained cycle that includes five integrated parts: play, connection, recognition, mastery, and practice (Hallowell, 2003). He considers that providing a person with the recognition induces a strong emotional connection simultaneously provoking the motion of all the cycle. This cycle comprises numerous domains such as sport, academic pursuit, hobby, and social interaction (Hallowell, 2003). The connection is one of the most significant links in the cycle. Growing with the connection, a child feels the basic trust (Hallowell, 2003). It helps the child to develop a feeling of safety and security that encourages the desire to risk and fight with the failures. The main work of the child is to play that helps in learning the power of practice, while also inducing the formation of discipline (Hallowell, 2003). The significant skill that develop the child’s practices is learning how to receive the help. The significant factor of the effective raise of the child is the promotion of the development of the self-esteem that reflects in the mastery (Hallowell, 2003). If parents want their children to have a high self-esteem they should care that kids experience the mastery in various ways. Consequently, the mastery will promote the formation of leadership skills and confidence.
In the Chapter 6 “Preserving and Promoting the Positive Energy of Childhood,” according to the convictions of the author, the satisfaction of a child will be reached when compliments and praise are achieved after the passing of numerous obstacles. The overcoming of many problematic aspects helps to feel the strengthening power of the cycle of connectedness that leads to play, mastery, practice, and recognition (Hallowell, 2003). The parents should support the development of the children’s habits and search for the creative outlet.
The author insists that it is essential to explain to a child that after the bad times, good times come, which is an ideal motivation. Csikzentmihalyi calls such phenomenon autotelic, which means that everything what a person does is for the own sake (Hallowell, 2003). For example, when a person plays in the chest for enjoy, it is an autotelic activity. However, when a person plays with the aim of earning money, it is an exotelic activity (Hallowell, 2003). The author persuades that bringing up the child should base on the autotelic activity, because it will help in reaching the positive result enjoying by the work process. The usage of the exotelic approach can destroy the child’s enthusiasm and induce depression that can be caused by the absence of rewards (Hallowell, 2003).
In the Chapter 7 “Connected Childhood: The Key to it All,” , the author emphasizes that the connected atmosphere means that a child feels cared for, fairly treated, and welcomed. However, there is a substantial risk to be disconnected. The protection of the children against the risky sexual behavior, violent behavior or alcohol is a feeling of connectedness that has to create the concentric circle (Hallowell, 2003). It is crucial for children to feel the sense of connectedness with their self and own goals. The author describes the difference between expecting and connecting, which should be mutually exclusive and balanced (Hallowell, 2003). In case, parents will cope with preserving the connectedness as the top priority, they can contribute towards the emergence of happiness. Parents should be aware of the fact that a child does not have to work to win the love. The author strongly insists that the conditional love leads to the insecure childhood, making kids the unsecure adults.
In the Chapter 8 “Play: The Source of Lifelong Joys,” Dr. Ned Hallowell is convinced that the creativity and play should go hand to hand to form a supremely involved state of mind, which the person will effectively use to the rest of the life. The play is a fundamental key to the joy. The play with the ideas and images induces creativity that strengthens the brain and supports the spirit to play (Hallowell, 2003). The skill to play is more significant than other, because it induces the formation of abilities that lie behind the advances and discoveries (Hallowell, 2003). For example, the child who can play effectively with the words can become the author (Hallowell, 2003). An effective play with the numbers can help in becoming a qualified economist or mathematician. The main goal of the play is stretching of the mind and creation of the state of joy. Fear and danger comprise the significant derivatives that intrude the learning of skills (Hallowell, 2003). Thus, when parents reserve a time to play with their child, they should also reserve the feeling of safety.
The author also outlines that some children do not learn to play, as well as they might; this is not because they are confined in the authoritarian environment, but because they spend a lot of time playing video games. The author mentions the research of Klauber, who identified that videogames are the aimless fun that makes children concentrate on the efficiency but not on the result (Hallowell, 2003). Besides, such games cause the atrophy of imagination.
In the Chapter 9 “Practice: The Way from Play to Mastery,” the author of the book considers that only the surrounding environment and adequate self-control can make the child and adult happy. The best way that will help in developing that sense of control is practice. The practice induces the formation of the structure and discipline that opens the door to the hidden talents. Thus, the task of parents and teachers is to make the positive influence on the practice supporting its effectiveness (Hallowell, 2003). Hallowell asserts that the discipline and practice form the bridge between the play and mastery (Hallowell, 2003). The enjoy received from the practice and play induces the desire to achieve other goals.
The author also considers that children actually like the structure, because it provides the freedom and implies learning of the interesting rules. Using of the structure makes the child happier and more successful (Hallowell, 2003). The scientists regard the modern structured disciplines as a ticket to the mastery and success. The parents should find the right way how to explain such phenomenon to children (Hallowell, 2003). It would be rational to emphasize that successful people reach their goals, when they enjoy their hard work and mastery. Such issues can motivate the child to reach the set goals.
In the Chapter 10 “Mastery: the Great Motivator,” Dr. Ned Hallowell outlines that one of the significant goals of teachers and parents is the identification of areas, where the child can feel the mastery (Hallowell, 2003). The mastery is a crucial motivator that makes the child enjoy the personal actions. However, the fear often stops some children because of being scared to fail. Nevertheless, parents should encourage the child to work, because that induces the formation of a high self-esteem (Hallowell, 2003). The significant mistake that parents can do is demanding the mastery instead of leading the child. The author considers that the best teacher is the person who leads the child to the mastery, but not the one who make him\her perform some actions (Hallowell, 2003). There are also numerous examples when people do not feel mastery, even when they reach the extremely effective result. The author explains such phenomenon by the blocking caused by the excessive critics and expectations. It would be more productive to motivate the child but not make him/her do something masterfully (Hallowell, 2003). The happiness of a child strongly depends on the achievements and repeated practicing of the mastery that enhances the building of the optimistic attitude to the work (Hallowell, 2003). The author is sure that optimism is the habit that acquires the individual, even if it is not natural to him/her (Hallowell, 2003). Thus, if the person would constantly train not to globalize the bad events, it will be easier to learn how to keep the negative events in the proper perspective.
In this chapter, the author also focuses on the difference between the achievements and mastery. He emphasizes that the achievement is a benchmark, when the mastery is a feeling (Hallowell, 2003). Both aspects should go hand in hand, because that causes the raise of the self-esteem and optimism.
In terms of the Chapter 11 “Recognition: The Bridge from Longing to Belonging,” recognition is a feeling that occurs when other people value a person. It is especially crucial when the positive attitude goes from people whose opinion is respectful. Such crucial aspect reinforces the mastery, leading to the wider feeling of the connectedness. The author outlines the interesting fact that fields of the interest of the majority of adults are often determined not by the curiosity, but by the recognition of teachers they faced when were young (Hallowell, 2003).
The author identifies the difference between the joyful mastery and joyless achievements. When the individual understands that the done actions are interesting to other people, it becomes more uplifting for him/her (Hallowell, 2003). Thus, the recognition builds the bridge between the mastery and connection. When the child does something good, parents should value that, because it always brings a pride for the child and supports the development of the strong connection between them (Hallowell, 2003). However, it is essential to be careful with the providence of recognition. It is a very powerful phenomenon, and some children even cannot live without it. Such children usually use the recognition not to connect with people, but to separate and raise above them (Hallowell, 2003). The parent should understand that when the child feels comfortable and secured, he/she will not demand an additional praise and recognition. Dr. Ned Hallowell mentions the myth that the success of children depends on the college degree and its prestige level. However, there is no best college for the student. Alternatively, it is possible to find the best match between the student and college. The study of Alan Krueger and Stacey Berg showed that certain specific qualities matter more than the name of the college, and parents should focus on the qualities of the child and select the best match basing on that aspect (Hallowell, 2003).
In the Chapter 12 “Teaching Jack and Fish: Planting the Seeds of Joy,” the author considers that the significant task of the parents is creating the joy and providing the support to the child’s actions that will induce him/her to succeed. Parents should always keep in mind that little boys and girls trust adults, and they need to show the right example for them (Hallowell, 2003). Thus, the best result will be achieved, when the parent will learn how to identify the true feeling and emotions of the child (Hallowell, 2 003). For example, it is crucial to follow the face of a child who reads a book, trying to see the hard moments and then provide the support and appropriately motivate (Hallowell, 2003). The spirit of the child is the most precious source, and the parent has to apply many efforts not to break it. Indeed, the life brings many not pleasant moments, and children will face many of them. Moreover, it is a considerable mistake to bring the additional worry to the child because of the education that often converts in a real tragedy for the child (Hallowell, 2003). It is crucial to teach the child to enjoy the learning, and only than he/she will make further experiments in the adult life and will not be scared of making the independent and risky steps.
In the Chapter 13 “What Goes into a Connected Childhood? A Closer Look,”, the author emphasizes that every parent should put the love for the child to an action, creating the feeling of connectedness (Hallowell, 2003). The conflict in families testifies about the presence of disconnection among relatives and concentration of its members on the personal problems. In such situations, the author recommends to find the free time, which all the family members can spend together trying to avoid the intimidation (Hallowell, 2003). Children who abuse other kids usually learn such behaviors from the home relations. Thus, the attitude between the family members should be friendly with setting up the special traditions and celebrations.
The presence of hugs, touches, and kisses is also a significant constituent part of the happy family life. The essential factor here is getting the pleasure from such actions. The crucial issue that makes the children happy is the participation in their childhood (Hallowell, 2003). It is of paramount significance to teach the child how to make friends and show how it is important to love each other. It would be effective for parents to show the relations with adult friends, modeling the importance of the social capital (Hallowell, 2003). Children should also understand the difference between the friendship and popularity. In case the child has some social problems, it would be rational to advise to visit chores or sport that will help in forming the social responsibility and fighting for the common goal with other participants (Hallowell, 2003).
In the thirteenth chapter, the author also tells that stress plays a significant role, helping the child to learn about the own mind and count on the own strengths. Dr. Ned Hallowell considers that it is crucial to identify talents and strengths as well as targeting areas of the weaknesses (Hallowell, 2003). Parents should begin identifying of the skills of the child, because that will promote the selection of the particular area, where the child will succeed. Such approach induces the formation of satisfaction from the learning (Hallowell, 2003). It is essential to be aware of that, since the early intervention is better than the management of the further crisis (Hallowell, 2003). Thus, it is better to teach the children how to behave in the definite situation than to correct the done mistakes.
In the Chapter 14 “Doing Too Much: The Great Mistake Good Parents Make,” there are numerous life situations when parents are trying to contribute to the development of children and do too much for him/her, which is one of the greatest mistakes. The author outlines the comments of Csikszentmihalyi, who considers that the prerequisite for happiness is the ability to get the child fully involved in various life situations (Hallowell, 2003). The children from the most affluent families find it more difficult to be in the flow.
In this chapter, the author also mentions that parents should apply many efforts to preserve the capacity of a child to feel wonder and excitement. It is crucial to teach children to use their imagination in reaching the goal (Hallowell, 2003). At the end of the chapter, the author sets opened questions that are directed to parents. He asks, “How long the child can use the computer”, “What harm does bring watching violent TV,” “Are there any safety measures the parent should apply?’ (Hallowell, 2003). He considers that such questions will help parents in identifying the current problems and can contribute towards correcting them.
The essence of the Chapter 15 “From Pleasure to Something Better: The Art of Growing Up” is comprised in the statement that the deeds of a person should not strongly depend on the gratification, but also on learning to drive the satisfaction from something deeper and more complicated than pleasure (Hallowell, 2003). The feeling of the joy depends on the ability of an individual to get creatively involved with something over an extended period. Such approach causes scarifying and delaying the gratification (Hallowell, 2003). However, it also provides different and even better kinds of satisfaction than the sensate pleasure alone can supply. The task of parents is to help children to discover this process (Hallowell, 2003). The author advises all the readers to use the recommendations represented in the book that will make the life of their children happier (Hallowell, 2003). The proposed actions are available and simple in use, but they can help in reaching the most essential goal of the whole life, namely raising the happy children.
Importance of the Book
The book The Childhood Roots of Adulthood Happiness: Five Steps to Help Kids Create and Sustain Lifelong Joy written by Dr. Ned Hallowell has a considerable significance in terms of the right raising children and developing their skills. All parents want to see their children happy, and the book teaches how to reach that aim (Cohen, 2007). Indeed, parents cannot control everything in the life of their children and often have the lack of free time to spend with their children, but they can learn the basics of the skill how to make the child happy (Cohen, 2007). Thus, the book teaches parents how to make the life of children colorful, while avoiding the excessive care, because that destroys the possibility of feeling the pleasure from further achievements. The book also promotes parents to use the power of play and connection, avoiding the pressure that can destroy that power (Cohen, 2007). Thus, parents should apply many efforts to make the play of children positive with colorful memories and pleasant experience (Cohen, 2007). The book induces parents to support the emotional security and connectedness that is beyond the clothing, shelter, and food (Cohen, 2007). They have to effectively collaborate with teachers that can steer kids into the right path. Thus, parents have to teach their children not be shy to ask for help and never pretend that there is no problem (Cohen, 2007). They should show how to behave by their personal actions and example more often. The constant practicing of such advices will definitely help the parents in making their children happier (Cohen, 2007).
The analyzed book explicitly describes the five-step plan how to build the right self esteem of a child, achieve the success, and make him or her happy. The steps include connectedness, play, practice, mastery, and recognition. The essence of the book is based on the investigation of the abovementioned aspects and their interconnection. The author constantly insists that parents should not concentrate on the promotion to get a good grade, but support and develop the emotional health of the child. If parents want their children to have a high self-esteem, they have to be sure that the kids experience mastery in various ways that also induce the development of confidence. The child who really likes what he or she is doing will try to achieve new goals and will not be afraid to risk and make further steps. In addition, the good parents should not do too many for their children. However, they have to provide them with an opportunity to get the pleasure from the own achievements. Thus, the book represents the effective recommendations to the parents, which will help them to make their children happy and direct them to the right way of teaching their children how to fully enjoy the life by getting the pleasure from the work.