Turns out that it isn’t things, money, drugs… or any of the other myriad of things that we fear. Probably from watching too many tv shows filled with supposed teenage angst.
I read about this study a few days ago and have been rolling it over in my head since then.
Turns out that what makes youth, defined as those ages 13-24, happy is having a strong close tie to their families.
Spending time with family was the top answer to that open-ended question, according to an extensive survey more than 100 questions asked of 1,280 people ages 13-24 conducted by The Associated Press and MTV on the nature of happiness among America’s young people.
Next was spending time with friends, followed by time with a significant other. And even better for parents: Nearly three-quarters of young people say their relationship with their parents makes them happy.
I think the study shows us what a great asset a strong loving family. And that maybe we need to remember (we, meaning me) that while our teenage children are pulling away from us and acting like they know it all and we as parents know NOTHING and could in fact probably take life lessons form them and their wise teenager ways, that when all is said and done they highly value their relationship with us.
“It’s good news to hear young people being realistic about what really makes them happy,” says psychologist Jean Twenge, author of “Generation Me” and a professor at San Diego State University. “Research has shown us that relationships are the single greatest source of happiness.”
Virtually none of the respondents said that money made, or would make, them happy.
I think that it would be interesting to further delve into the findings and discover what makes a good family. Why did the other 25% of youth NOT chose their family as the primary source of their happiness? Are their families wildly dysfunctional?
Perhaps the next study. For now I am just hugging this one close to my bosom while my almost teenage son rolls his eyes at me. And not just so my hands are occupied and can not strangle him.