Ironically, being a little selfish is the first step to happier kids. Your level of happiness has a significant impact on your children’s happiness and success. Numerous studies have found a strong connection between depressed mothers and “negative outcomes” in their kids, like acting out and other behavioral issues. In fact, behavioral issues in children seem to be a direct result of parental depression, which also reduces the effectiveness of our parenting. And it’s not just genetics that’s to blame. The study did discover that happy parents are statistically more likely to have happy children, but it was unable to identify any genetic basis for this relationship. Hang out with friends or family who are likely to be laughing themselves because laughter is contagious. Their laughter will make you laugh as well, though it isn’t even necessary for your mood to become lighter. According to neuroscientists, listening to someone else laugh activates mirror neurons in a part of the brain that give listeners the impression that they are laughing as well. Compared to other parents, those who place an excessive emphasis on achievement are more likely to have children who experience high levels of anxiety, depression, and substance abuse. Most of the children who had been praised for their intelligence preferred the simpler puzzle because they didn’t want to risk making a mistake and losing their reputation as intelligent children. On the other hand, more than 90% of children who were encouraged to adopt a growth mindset chose a more difficult puzzle. Children want to continue putting forth the effort and hard work that results in achievement, as Dweck explains: They are not diverted from the task of learning by a concern with how smart they might or might not look.