Denmark is one of the top three happiest countries in the world as confirmed by the United Nation’s World Happiness Report list. People in Denmark have been the happiest in the world for seven years.
Iben Sandahl, a Danish psychotherapist and educator, and Jessica Alexander, author an America author and psychologist wrote “The Danish Way of Parenting,” a book full of tips for parents. They also reveal the secret behind this immense happiness.
It’s all about the upbringing. Danish parents raise happy babies who later become happy adults.
The Danish education system includes mandatory classes teaching empathy. This practice started in 1993. Students are taught about empathy an hour each week. Every student aged 6-19 attended “Klassens tid,” and learn everything about empathy.
Empathy classes help students create stronger bonds and do better later in life. This is a good way to stop bullies.
Empathy creates good leaders, entrepreneurs, and managers. Students are more able to focus on their future success.
It all makes sense, right? Successful people are always surrounded by people who help them. Emphatic teenagers are better and more successful than narcissistic peers. During their empathy classes, students talk about their problems, regardless of whether it’s a problem at school or a personal issue.
The teacher and the class work on the problem together in an effort to find a solution. There’s no judging, and everyone takes a really good care of themselves.
Sandahl explains that students respect everyone’s opinion. They are heard and respected, and that’s how they become part of a bigger community.
Carlotta Balena, a journalist, explains that Danish children feel free to speak up. They are part of the community, and there’s always someone to listen to them.
If none of the kids has a problem, they use the classes to relax and enjoy hygge (a Danish word for their culture).
Hygge is defined as “intentionally created intimacy,” and it relies on the Danish sense of well-being.
The atmosphere is enjoyable, and students have a really good time in the friendly environment.
If you check out Amazon, you will find more than 900 books on hygge. Do you use Instagram? There are over 3 million posts under the hashtag #hygge.
The Mary Foundation is named after the crown princess, and it serves to support empathy classes in school.
The anti-bullying program is implemented in every school in the country. Children aged 3-8 talk about bullying and learn how to take care of themselves. More than 98% of all teachers would recommend this to other institutions.
The Danish Way of Parenting is available in 21 languages, and the book relies on field research.
There are two ways of teaching empathy among Danish parents. First, they teach teamwork. About 60% of the tasks done at school do this in an effort to improve their skills and talents, especially in children who aren’t as gifted and talented as their friends.
There’s no reward. Parents motivate their kids to become better and improve themselves.
Alexander says that children in Denmark have enough time and space for a free play. Playing has been used as an educational tool since 1871.
The second way of teaching empathy is through collaborative learning. The system in Denmark supports everyone.
You don’t have to go through life alone. That’s what students in Denmark are taught. A talented mathematician will need the help of a friend in other subjects. Students build empathy skills and learn how to communicate.
Every school in the country will benefit from this practice, and hopefully, other countries will follow this example. Our children need to learn more about empathy and try to become better people.
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