We sat down with Child Psychologist David Coleman to discuss happiness, female empowerment and the importance of resilience. Watch our interview in the video above. 

Happy Families
Are you happy? Recently, a survey was conducted by Celtic Pure Water that questioned whether parents were happy - the results were surprisingly positive and David was quick to celebrate.

"It's nice to see some happiness coming through which is one of the big things that they found, so 55% of parents are really happy which I think is great, a great way to start the new year.

"A nice survey research which just shows how parents are getting on with their families because I think sometimes we all assume that everybody is doing OK and that's not always the case but when you find out that actually, 55% of families are genuinely happy - well, that's a nice way to start the year.

According to a recent survey, 55% of parents are really happy!
According to a recent survey, 55% of families are happy!

Bounce Back
Speaking on the importance of resilience, David suggested that parents may be depriving their children of an important skill by protecting them too much.

"Resilience is, I suppose, a lovely concept but not always easily attained and in order to be resilient you have to suffer some kind of hardship, you have to suffer some kind of disappointment and then realise that you can bounce back - that's what resilience is all about.

"I think, perhaps, in years gone by we certainly had hardship in a way that I'm not sure that this current generation of children actually [does] because I think parents mind them a lot more. I think there's a lot more - even though we've had the recession - there's a lot more money in the economy and I think kids have a lot more stuff.

"As a consequence then, maybe they haven't really been let to get disappointed too often and that's maybe something that parents protect them from - unfortunately, because resilience is one of those key things that, if we don't practice it, if we don't experience getting knocked down and getting back up again then we're not going to know that we had that strength, and that skill, and that ability to do it.

"I think gender stereotyping can happen at a very young age," says David.

Boys and Girls
When it comes to gender dynamic, society has a habit of boxing society into categories as soon as possible with pink bows and blue onesies.

In America, the strange phenomenon of 'gender reveal parties' has grown rampant with expectant mothers cutting into cakes or popping balloons to reveal pink or blue to their loved ones.

We asked David about the problems that can occur from such defined gender roles and how we can raise our girls to become strong, independent women.

"If we want to look at young girls to grow up and become strong independent women, the key is to always know that that's possible for them"

"I think gender stereotyping can happen at a very young age, if we think about how we interact with boy babies and girl babies - there's lots of research there that shows that we tend to treat boy babies with a sense of rough and tumble and say 'hey, look at you, aren't you so big and so strong' whereas with girls, it's all about 'aw, you're so cute, you're so gorgeous'

"Right from the start perhaps, we're giving these messages to girls that actually, there are certain kinds of things that they're able for, certain types of things that they should put themselves forward for and maybe those messages aren't always right.

"I think, even from a very young age, when your child is a toddler, a pre-schooler, and when they're heading into school for the first time - give them the message that every door is open to them.

"Give them the message that everything that they want to do, they can do and that there's nothing necessarily that makes them different in terms of their ability, their capacity or what they're able for, than a boy. 

"As long as we give those messages constantly and allow them to do things and practice things then I think that will really strengthens their capacity into strong independent women."