I don’t make my children happy. Why? Because that’s not my job.
I of course do things that make my children happy all the time. But my primary role, I believe, revolves around providing for their emotional and physical needs and offering my guidance to them for the choices they make and responses that they have. I stress the word ‘offer’, because the truth is that you can’t really make them want to make what you believe are the right decisions or feel what you think is the appropriate emotional response. And if they are older children, they rarely take your advice anyway! But the loving guidance should still be there.
What we also want to avoid is inadvertently teaching our kids that it is wrong to feel certain feelings – anger, sadness, disappointment – in our quest to ‘make’ them happy.
Children must feel free to feel what they feel. Boundaries may well need to be established with regards to how they express their feelings, but the emotion itself no matter what it is, is always valid even if the behaviour is not.
The parent who needs their child to be happy is generally needing that for their own happiness. And remember, it’s not their job to make you happy neither!