The Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos

You might think you know what it takes to lead a happier life… more money, a better job, or Instagram-worthy vacations. You’re dead wrong. Yale professor Dr. Laurie Santos has studied the science of happiness and found that many of us do the exact opposite of what will truly make our lives better. Based on the psychology course she teaches at Yale -- the most popular class in the university’s 300-year history -- Laurie will take you through the latest scientific research and share some surprising and inspiring stories that will change the way you think about happiness. iHeartMedia is the exclusive podcast partner of Pushkin Industries.

Happier Parents, Happier Kids Pt 1: Your Child Isn't a VIP or a Fragile Vase

October 30, 2022



Rosy had a packed schedule of lunches, meet-ups and activities - and she was only three.  Mom Michaeleen Doucleff felt she couldn't waste a second of her daughter's time. Rosy needed to be constantly lectured and stimulated if she was going to reach the Ivy League. 

This style of parenting was exhausting both mother and daughter, until Michaeleen found that not everyone approaches child-rearing in this way. She tells Dr Laurie Santos how she forged a happier and more relaxed relationship with Rosy - that benefited them both.  

Formed Stanford dean Julie Lythcott-Haims explores how "overparenting" has taken hold in recent decades and why it needs to be challenged.   

Further reading:

Michaeleen Doucleff - Hunt, Gather, Parent: What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy Helpful Humans

 Malcolm Harris - Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials

 Julie Lythcott-Haims - How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success.

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Hey, I'm Joel Stein. I want you to close your eyes and imagine a pocket watch. It's moving from side to side. You're getting very sleepy. Great. Now that I've hypnotized you against your will, you're going to start liking long-form journalism. Like so much. You're gonna listen to a podcast where the host interviews a writer about their long-form story every week.

I'm that host. Listen to story of the week on the iHeart Radio app, Apple podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. Pushkin. I really thought parenting was what I saw on Facebook. I mean, it sounds really embarrassing for me to say that. Like many expectant parents, journalist Michaelene Dukleff had some rather idealized notions of motherhood. Like I saw the pictures of the babies and heard about mom's snuggling and having this, you know, incredibly romantic version of what a mom is doing. And so that was what I envisioned. Michaelene wanted to be the perfect mom, making sure she gave her kids all the opportunities she didn't have growing up.

This was my opportunity to like create the person that I wish I had been. I could have gone to Harvard or Yale and, you know, I'm gonna create this child that could do that. I also thought that, like, I just instinctually would know how to parent. But when Michaelene and her husband finally had their baby Rosie, the reality wasn't quite what she had envisioned. Oh my gosh, the fantasy crumbled very quickly. So Rosie's a very intelligent kid. I don't want to like throw it under the bus. She is smart and funny and really strong. But she's also super like strong willed.

Rosie also cried a lot, which terrified her parents. They just couldn't figure out what they were doing wrong. My husband said to the pediatrician, you know, she's not eating or sleeping, she's crying. And the pediatrician kind of laughed and was like, well, that's a baby.

Somehow Michaelene and her husband powered through Rosie's early years. By the time she was to all that emotion turned into tantrums, and she was having just lots of tantrums, like one or two a day.

And I had no clue how to handle them. Michaelene was a science journalist with a PhD. So she decided to turn to what she knew best. I really thought that I could parent with science, that I could like, you know, look up papers, read the original articles, and you know, they would tell me how to get the baby to sleep. They would tell me how to stop a tantrum. They'd tell me all these things.

But after diving deeper into parenting resources, Michaelene realized that many of them weren't actually evidence based. One popular book on sleep training used by many parents to teach their children how to sleep was written in the 1800s. The author, a guy named John Henry Walsh, was a sports writer with little pediatrics training. He also wrote about guns a lot, and he blew off his hand like in some gun accident. But he's one of the first people to write about sleep training and offer this like insights into why you need to sleep train. And you can see if you trace back, you can see kind of the sources of some of our weird ways of parenting in these often men, sometimes who didn't have children, but coming up with all this advice and these ideas that were not science-based at all. To deal with Rosie's tantrums, Michaelene scoured books and blogs and newsletters for advice, but nothing seemed to work. And we were just in these awful power struggles where like she would have a tantrum and I would try to help her and eventually I would get angry and it would make her tantrums worse. Like I would lie in the bed in the mornings like at five a.m. before she got up and just kind of dread being with her, like dread her waking up and dread my time with her because it was just such a struggle. And also I just felt like I was failing like day in, day out. That period of time was really, really hard and just thinking about it now, it almost makes me want to cry because it was my husband I were trying so hard, right? Like we wanted to be better parents for her and we wanted to help her, but our upbringing and our culture just had not trained us. Humans have been parenting for a very long time, but the experience of parenting can change from generation to generation. These days, many parents like Michaelene feel like they're anxiously white-knuckling through crisis after crisis. There's a lot of evidence that having kids can bring a deep sense of meaning and life satisfaction, but studies also show that the day-to-day duties of being a parent can still reduce our happiness. For many moms and dads today, parenting is a draining, stressful and anxious business, but it's not just parents that are feeling it. Over the last few decades, our kids have begun reporting levels of depression and anxiety that have never before been observed in human history. The Center for Disease Control found that 37% of teens report having poor mental health and that one in five has seriously considered suicide.

These statistics are absolutely devastating. They are the reason that I got interested in studying happiness in my Yale students in the first place. But for me, these awful statistics also raise a puzzle. It feels like modern parents are putting in more work and energy than ever before, but all this effort doesn't seem to be translating into more health and happiness for their children.

The studies suggest it might even be having a detrimental effect.

So in this two-part episode of the Happiness Lab, we'll explore the ways parenting has gone astray, what expectations and pressures might be to blame, and what can moms and dads do to be kinder to themselves and experience less anxiety and more joy when raising a family.

And before we do, I wanted to share a bit of a caveat. This episode is pretty personal for me, but full disclosure, I'm not a parent myself. Still, I get to work with a lot of parents and their kids at Yale. I see the levels of anxiety that young people and their parents face.

That experience has made me incredibly worried about parental burnout. It's also convinced me that society may need some serious structural changes and a new philosophy when it comes to raising happier, healthier kids. The mind is constantly telling us what to do to be happy, but what if our minds are wrong? What if our minds are lying to us, leading us away from what will really make us happy? The good news is that understanding the science of the mind can point us all back in the right direction. You're listening to the Happiness Lab with Dr. Laurie Santos.

I remember it was winter. We're living in our little town, St. Carlos, California. We bundle up our little baby. I mean, he wasn't even one. He was maybe eight months old. This is author and educator Julie Lith Gottheims. You know, he is a little bundle. He's like a little peanut.

Julie was taking her son Sawyer on a wholesome adventure in the fresh air.

And we take him to the kiddie park in our community that has this sort of infant toddler park.

There's this little toddler sized slide, which must have been three feet off the ground with a very gentle slope. My husband is on one side of the slide. I'm on the other. We gently place him at the top. And he's looking at us with round eyes. He's looking like, what are you doing to me?

And in my mind, I said, oh, my goodness, my child is afraid to go down the slide.

The couple anxiously closed in on Sawyer, intent on holding him every single inch of the way down.

And we were like, okay, we're on the slide. It's going to be fun. You hear, aren't we having fun?

But Sawyer didn't look like he was having fun. He seemed terrified.

And when I came to realize Laurie is his facial expression was a mirror of ours. I thought he was afraid. No, no, no, he was looking at me for how should I feel? Oh, mom is afraid. Oh, dad's afraid. What is happening to me? We were looking at him with fear, like, oh, no, our Aimee told us on a slide. Will he survive? Sawyer, as you may have guessed, did in fact survive. He's now a healthy 20 something who has successfully navigated lots of adversities on kiddie playgrounds and beyond. But Julie still remembers how gripped with anxiety she was.

Oh my God, if I could go back because that was the beginning of just a decade and a half of over parenting. Julie, like me, works with college students. She served as a dean of freshman and undergraduate advising at Stanford University for over a decade. And like me, she saw the same high rates of stress and anxiety and depression in her students. She worries that the overprotectiveness she gave Sawyer could be more widespread and could be harming an entire generation. My heart was going out to my students. I was critiquing their parents in my head.

So when I realized, oh, shit, I'm doing it with my kids, I was very motivated to pivot.

Julie's written several books on anxious parenting, including how to raise an adult, break free of the over parenting trap and prepare your kid for success.

It begins with a look at the recent changes that have made parenting so much more anxiety provoking. It argues that our culture might not be helping us to raise our kids in the happiest ways. The book points the finger at a few specific societal changes from the 1980s that have profoundly changed how parents engage with kids, starting with some seemingly innocuous child safety laws. Wear a seatbelt, wear a bike helmet, and use a car seat. Every single state over the course of a few years enacted those laws, which was amazing. Those laws made us safer in bicycles and in cars. And yet led to a mindset of we must control our environment, led to bike helmets on toddlers in their own driveways. That's sort of you never know, just in case.

Bubble wrap the kid, bubble wrap the house. So that mentality began in the mid 80s, as did the play date. Back when I was a kid in the late 70s, many kids found their own friends and played all by themselves. But in the late 80s, that changed. It became the norm for parents to not only arrange play dates, but also to watch over things during those meetups. Moms and dads hovered during playtime, and were ready to step in if kids weren't playing right or getting along.

You know, the adults were handling play, which previously was the realm of children.

We also began the stranger danger obsession. Don't let your kid out of your sight. You never know, they might get abducted. It's true there are predators out there. In cases of child abduction are a huge tragedy. But the statistics suggest that the chances of actually having a tragedy like that take place in your family are less than one in a million. An American child is 10 times more likely to die in a freak equestrian accident than they are to be abducted by someone they don't know.

But the culture of the 80s didn't just demand that parents protect kids from the unlikely possibility of abduction. Parents also began to feel like they had to shield kids from other bad stuff, like negative feelings, the pain of failure, or coming in second place. The 80s were also the era of the so-called self esteem movement, which was just show up and applaud them at every single turn. They painted a painting, great job. They tied their shoes, perfect. These childhoods were filled with the chirping sounds of parents praising every darn thing. 80s parents also began caring about the academic praise that their kids got in school, what Julie calls achievement culture.

She traces it back to a 1983 report by the US National Commission on Excellence in Education that showed that American kids were falling behind their peers in other countries.

In response, the US education system stepped up. Parents started hearing phrases like no child left behind and college readiness. Teachers began assigning more homework and school systems began giving more and more standardized tests. And how kids did on those standardized tests began to matter a lot more to parents than it used to. The 80s were also a time of widening salary gaps and career inequality, which meant that parents began worrying about which side of the divide their kids might land on. Some scholars like Malcolm Harris, author of Kids These Days, Human Capital and the Making of Millennials, have argued that this pressure drove parents to think of their children's job prospects in the same way that anxious CEOs think about their firms.

Parents needed to find ways for their children to accumulate as much capital as they could.

They used grades and extracurriculars to hedge against the risk of bad future job prospects.

It was also in the early 80s that the US News & World Report began its now infamous college rankings.

Julie says those rankings convinced parents that there were now winners and losers in higher education.

Getting into college wasn't good enough anymore. Parents had to shoot for selective schools for their kids.

We have in mind they should go to yet. We have in mind they should go to Stanford. We have in mind they should go to wherever. We very much have it in mind.

And especially for privileged parents, this quickly turned into the idea that loving your kid meant helping them succeed academically, by any means necessary, meaning more tutors and private schools, more advanced AP classes and extracurriculars at every turn.

It became the norm to spend time and money on any advantage that might help your child prevail in that college arms race.

And the arms race didn't just start in high school or middle school.

Parents of preschoolers began pushing their children to tick off as many academic wins as possible.

I called out the checklist of childhood. Check off all these boxes, kid, and we will be proud of you and you will get where we need you to go.

And what's worse, some parents started to base their own self-esteem on their children's achievements.

Look at my child, my masterpiece. Look at my child, my trophy. My child is the evidence that I am a worthy person.

Julie argues that such changes meant that parents started to think of childhood in a very different way.

Childhood was less about development as it had been for most of human history. It was now about curation.

Loving moms and dads were made to feel like they needed to watch over their children carefully to make sure their kids weren't just safe, but constantly stimulated and praised. They started battling as early as possible to win the race for a perfect college admission.

As Julie puts it in her book, we went from thinking of our kids as wildflowers to thinking of them as delicate bonsais.

Not everything about pre-80s parenting was ideal, of course. When I was growing up, social scientists worried about latchkey kids and absentee parents, a problem that persists today. And no one would deny that bike helmets and additional academic support are positive advances.

But Julie thinks that some of these changes forced us too far in the opposite direction, with more hovering and guiding and vigilance and anxiety than ever before. The switch was profound enough for child-during experts Foster Klein and Jim Fay to develop their famous term, helicopter parenting. And the worry now is that we've moved beyond helicopter parenting into what's been referred to as lawnmower parenting.

Now you don't simply hover over your kids. You mow over any potential problem they face, cutting the path ahead long before your children even reach an obstacle.

But the science shows the psychological toll that such overattentive parenting can take is profound. What starts off as well-intentioned loving behavior can inadvertently harm parents' happiness and that of the people they care about most, their children. The Happiness Lab will be right back.

Hi, I'm Nyla Boudou, host of Axios Today. It's a daily podcast that gives you the latest scoops and analysis to power your day.

But we don't just run through the headlines. We provide the important stories you won't get anywhere else, everything from politics to space to race injustice.

So grab a cup of coffee or a cup of tea for me and join me for 10 minutes every morning to get up to speed for the day ahead.

You can listen to Axios Today on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

I had this fear of like, what am I going to do with Rosie on the weekends?

Michaeline Ducleff was already over-parenting her daughter Rosie, packing the toddler's diary.

And so I would create this incredibly complex, like, schedule for a three-year-old.

In the morning, we're going to go to the zoo and then we're going to meet her friend for lunch and have play date.

Michaeline thought she was doing right by Rosie, but the science suggests she was actually harming herself by buying into the idea that good parents are supposed to plan activities every waking moment.

We think children need constant stimulation. We need to, like, manage and set their schedule and they need something to do at all times.

Studies repeatedly show that feeling constantly pressed for time is a recipe for reduced well-being, lower life satisfaction, and higher stress-related illnesses.

Although zoo trips and play dates were leaving Michaeline time-famished, she was engaging in what's been called comtierge parenting, treating Rosie like a VIP whose needs trumped everyone else's.

And I just felt like I was like her personal assistant and she was like a CEO that, you know, I was chauffeuring around, you know, and my whole world was, like, revolved around her schedule.

Michaeline's concerns about which college Rosie would attend began even before the toddler was born.

Once out of the womb, she wanted to make sure her daughter was learning all the time, so she embarked on what she now refers to as a learn-a-palooza.

Like, quizzing her, you know, what do you smell? What do you see? Like, you know, what's two plus two?

Trying to make her learn as fast as possible and, like, you know, go to the next step as fast as possible.

It also included talking. Lots and lots and lots of talking. There was really a quiet moment when they were together.

I calculated once I'd said something like over 120 things to Rosie per hour. So, like, two things per minute.

And very little of that conversation was calming or fun. Michaeline was constantly getting into arguments with Rosie and telling her what not to do.

You know, don't climb on that tree. Don't do that. You know, like, I'm, like, looking for ways to fix everything, right?

In every moment and, like, guide her.

If you think all this sounds like a recipe for constant overwhelm and anxiety, you'd be correct.

It's exhausting, right? You're always on. You're always trying so hard.

And studies suggest that all this pressure and stress have really taken a toll.

Parents in the U.S. today experienced depression at twice the rate observed in the general population.

And one 2013 study showed that the intensive parenting that Michaeline engaged in leads to even more stress and reduced life satisfaction.

Empirically speaking, engaging in a constant stream of worry and all those endless activities is a recipe for reduced well-being.

But yet I felt like I needed to do them, that that's what a good parent did.

Now, you might argue that good parenting is supposed to involve sacrifice.

That stress is what you sign on for when you make the decision to become a mom or dad.

Sure, over-parenting is a bit stressful, but it's worth it to protect your kids and make sure they're healthy, happy, and successful.

But the irony of all these good intentions is that over-parenting has been shown to have a negative effect on kids, too.

For example, what's one of the fastest ways to make a kid feel overwhelmed?

Stick them with overwhelmed parents.

Scientists have long documented the effects of emotional contagion.

We catch the feelings of the people around us.

One survey of kids from ages 8 to 18 found that more than a third of them wound up worrying often or very often about their parents' level of stress.

But parental worry isn't the only thing stressing kids out.

Over-parented kids like Rosie also have to deal with the busyness and time famine that comes with so many play dates and other allegedly fun activities.

And children's time famine often gets worse as they get older.

The constant shuffling between play dates and practice in school can negatively affect their teens' well-being and their health.

One study found that time urgency in adolescents was a risk factor for developing early health problems like hypertension.

Think about that for a second. Stress induced hypertension in a teenager.

And Michaeline noticed another way she was hurting Rosie by arranging so many activities.

The problem with this is that I was teaching her that that was her purpose in life, right?

That her purpose was to go to the zoo on Saturday, you know, for me to make her these meals, for her to go to art class.

I was creating this very entitled, privileged individual.

And even though Rosie was pretty privileged, she was ironically being denied one thing that's super important for her development.

Childhood should be a time for exploration. When parents step in to help kids navigate a slide or force them to read a book, they make those children feel like a puppet on a string.

It takes away kids' autonomy, you know? It takes away their feeling like they're in control of their choices, of what they're doing from moment to moment, because you're kind of pushing them and forcing them into this mold.

Michaeline realized she was causing both herself and Rosie a lot of unnecessary stress.

But she wasn't sure what to do about it. She assumed she was doing what any loving mom had to do.

That over-parenting was the only way to parent.

But Michaeline's views on motherhood were about to undergo a massive change.

She was about to learn that not everyone is a lawnmower parent.

And I had this, like, glimmer of hope of, like, oh, maybe I could learn this approach myself.

We'll hear all about it when the Happiness Library returns in a moment.

Hi, I'm Nyla Boudou, host of Axios Today.

It's a daily podcast that gives you the latest scoops and analysis to power your day.

But we don't just run through the headlines.

We provide the important stories you won't get anywhere else, everything from politics to space to race and justice.

So grab a cup of coffee or a cup of tea for me and join me for 10 minutes every morning to get up to speed for the day ahead.

You can listen to Axios Today on Apple, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.

You know, I went there not thinking I was going to become a better parent or anything really about parenting.

I was really trying to do a story about attention span.

Science journalist and mother, Michaeline Ducleff, was asked to report on a surprising new study.

Researchers had observed that children who grew up in Mayan villages scored twice as well on tests of attention than middle-class kids raised in California.

NPR wanted Michaeline to investigate why Mayan kids were doing so much better.

So she headed off to the Yucatan to work with a Mayan mom named Maria.

She has five kids, and her parenting style was just so different, so the opposite of mine.

Michaeline's style of mothering involved being in crisis mode all the time.

Lots of talking, lots of energy, you know, screaming, and Maria's approach to parenting is this very calm, serene, no yelling, no arguing, no bickering.

Michaeline wondered if there was actually a happier path to raising Rosie.

With lessons to learn from around the world and throughout history, her research became a book, Hunt Gather Parent, What Ancient Cultures Can Teach Us About the Lost Art of Raising Happy Helpful Humans.

The book argues that parents need to focus less on anxiously hovering over their kids and more on building cooperative relationships and trust with them.

Michaeline boiled the steps to do this down into a simple acronym she called TEAM, which stands for Togetherness, Encouragement, Autonomy, and Minimal Intervention.

So let's start with Togetherness.

Doing things together, it's not entertaining the child, going to the zoo together.

It's just doing family activities and including the child. And it's also just coexisting, like just letting everybody kind of do what they do, but we're just together.

Historically, children spend a lot of time around their parents and older siblings, who are just doing the stuff that older humans in their culture would normally do.

But that's a very different practice than a child like Rosie experienced with all her play dates and zoo outings.

So we have this whole world we've created for children, and we kind of don't let children into the adult world.

As a result, many American kids don't get the chance to witness all the work and cooperative activities that adults do on a daily basis.

Like when Rosie was little, I would wait until she sleeps or goes to daycare or some activity, and then I would do the cleaning and I would do the laundry. So Rosie was never seeing me do any of the work.

Historically, kids were also more involved in household chores.

They learned that they weren't privileged family VIPs, but part of the day-to-day running of a household.

It's also just easier because I can go about my life and bring Rosie with me.

But when Michaeline tried to get Rosie more involved, she quickly learned that you do need a way to convince kids to take part in all these shared activities.

And that led to the second letter in Michaeline's team acronym.

E is for encouraging.

Which Michaeline argues is not something modern moms and dads spend a lot of time doing.

So we kind of want to force kids to do things. We feel like if they don't listen to what we do, we've lost.

And so we give allowances, we give punishments, we give bribes, yell, get angry.

But actually, if you look around the world, a lot of parents don't do that.

Very rarely do they force kids. Instead, they encourage.

And there's all these tools that we don't learn for encouraging children.

One of these tools is what Michaeline calls triggering thought.

Rather than telling your child what to do and what not to do, get them to think more about what they should be doing.

Asking them questions or telling them certain things so that they can figure it out.

Rather than telling your child, hey, stop messing with your brother. Or be careful, you're going to spill your milk.

You could instead trigger thought with questions like, hmm, do you think your brother likes it when you do that?

Or, huh, I wonder what will happen if you keep carrying your milk like that?

By asking Rosie questions rather than demanding that she stop doing something, Rosie got to be the one to figure out the best behavior in a situation.

Triggering thought in this way is both empowering for kids and educational.

Because you're giving them a sense of choice, right? And you're giving them the sense of autonomy.

Another encouragement tool to try is modeling. Rather than ordering your kids around, you simply demonstrate the right behavior.

So if you look the primary way children learn throughout the world and throughout human history is by just watching.

We think children learn through instruction.

We think you have to tell them what to do, right?

The problem is that, motivationally speaking, being told what to do often feels like the exact opposite of encouraging.

Telling them what to do is so stressful. It's so stressful for them. Nobody likes it. I don't like it. Why would Rosie like it?

Combining these encouragement strategies with behaviors that promote togetherness and cooperation can lead to huge changes in a child's behavior.

My relationship with Rosie improved so much.

And like my husband said, a couple months after we started, some of the approaches, like, we can never go back.

But I think it works because it really is just about the parent interacting with the child, the relationship.

But Michaeline is also the first to admit that ditching over parenting habits is hard.

Even the simple act of letting your child help with chores was tough for an ex-lawnmower mom, for a few reasons.

One, that it's going to take too much time, right? Kids are going to slow you down.

But the second thing is we want it done a particular way.

Like we want to optimize the child, we want to optimize the dinner.

So one afternoon, I was making kebabs.

And I said, Rosie, you know, giving her practices, they come into the kitchen and help me make these kebabs.

She comes running over and she starts making this massive chicken kebab, like using up like all the chicken on one kebab.

And I'm just like, yeah.

And I was like, no, like we can't make one huge chicken kebab.

I think I even grabbed the kebab from her, you know, like that's not the right way.

And of course she just like screamed, ran away and started crying.

Days later, when writing her book's chapter on togetherness, Michaelene had a chance to reflect on what she did wrong.

I'm not cooperating with her, right?

Like I'm not giving her a chance to contribute and do things a little bit her way, right?

And I felt really bad about it. And I also realized I was being super bossy.

So the next week, and I kind of set it up again and I got all this stuff and I said, come on, Rosie, come help me make kebabs.

And she didn't want to help. She was like, no.

But I convinced her, I was like, you know, you can make whatever kebab you want.

Rosie reluctantly joined and started making yet another mega chicken kebab.

I didn't say anything to her.

And I just took the kebab and I put it on the plate with the other ones and her eyes like lit up.

I couldn't believe it, but then she started making them like I was making them.

She started looking at me and we started really working together.

And that was just like such a moment in my life because it was like I was starting to understand what it means to cooperate with somebody.

Parenting changes like these, ones that promote shared activities and better forms of encouragement, have transformed Michaelene's family life.

She no longer dreads Rosie's tantrums or feels pressured to plan exhausting play date schedules.

My relationship with Rosie is so much better.

And to be honest, my relationship with my husband is so much better because I was doing the same thing with him.

He'd come in the kitchen and I would be like, that's not right. You don't chop the peppers that way.

And I would like shoe him out and then I would wonder why he doesn't want to cook.

I spent my first 20 years of my adult life, you know, really focusing on my individual achievements, really fighting for what I want and really been lonely.

And I really want to spend like the next 20, like learning more how to cooperate, learning more how to work together on shared goals.

And it's made me a much, a much happier person.

But you might be thinking, we've only so far heard of the first two steps in Michaelene's teen acronym.

What about the importance of autonomy and the idea of minimal intervention?

Well, we still have a few more parenting tips to share.

Ones that the science shows are especially important for raising happier, healthier kids.

We have completely lost control over how a human develops healthfully.

And so unfortunately, I need to leave you with a bit of a cliffhanger this week.

And we are effectively long term harming the very, very most precious humans in our lives, our children.

But I promise that the second of our two part special on happier parenting will provide some important tips on how to make modern parenting.

Damn, you need to put this in the podcast because people need to hear this.

A bit less of a crisis.

Now, this has been like therapy.

That's good.

So I hope you'll return for part two of happier parenting on the Happiness Lab with me, Dr. Laurie Santos.

The Happiness Lab is co-written and produced by Ryan Dilley, Emily Ann Vaughan, and Courtney Gorino.

Joseph Friedman checked our facts.

Our original music was composed by Zachary Silver with additional scoring, mixing, and mastering by Evan Viola.

Special thanks to Mia LaBelle, Heather Fain, John Schnars, Carly Migliore, Christina Sullivan, Maggie Taylor, Eric Sandler, Nicole Morano, Royston Preserve, Jacob Weisberg, and my agent, Ben Davis.

The Happiness Lab is brought to you by Pushkin Industries and me, Dr. Laurie Santos.

To find more Pushkin podcasts, listen on the iHeart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Hey, I'm Joel Stein.

I want you to close your eyes and imagine a pocket watch.

It's moving from side to side.

You're getting very sleepy.


Now that I've hypnotized you against your will, you're going to start liking long-form journalism.

Like so much.

You're going to listen to a podcast where the host interviews a writer about their long-form story every week.

I'm that host.

Listen to Story of the Week on the iHeart Radio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.