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Journal of Child Psychology

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Maria Adiyanti*
Faculty of Psychology, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Email: [email protected]
*Correspondence: Maria Adiyanti, Faculty of Psychology, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Yogyakarta, Indonesia, Tel: +628122699952, Email: [email protected]

Received Date: Mar 05, 2018 / Accepted Date: Mar 25, 2018 / Published Date: Apr 05, 2018

Citation: Adiyanti M. The children’s happiness in Javanese families: Two perspectives. J Child Psychol 2018;2(1):9-15.

This open-access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (CC BY-NC) (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits reuse, distribution and reproduction of the article, provided that the original work is properly cited and the reuse is restricted to noncommercial purposes. For commercial reuse, contact [email protected]


Sometimes the problem of being unhappy raised when the children and their parents didn’t have the same perceptions and indicators of child’s happiness. The purpose of this study was to identify indicators of child happiness from the perspectives of the children and their mothers and to find out the link of the two perspectives. This research conducted in two phases. The purpose of Phase 1 was to find the definition and indicators of child’s happiness from parents’ and children’s perspectives. Fifteen children (8-11 years old) and their mother were involved in FGD. The second phase was aimed to find out the link of the two. The child's happiness questionnaire was used to collect data on children’s happiness from the children and their mother point of view. The participants were 112 primary school children (8-10 years old) in Yogyakarta and their mothers. Data were analyzed using ANOVA and t-test. In the first phase of the study was found both children and their mother perceive happiness as positive emotions but there were differences in its indicators. The second phase of the study indicated that there were significant differences on abstract child happiness indicators between mother and child (t=11.26, p=0.05; children's M=47.5; mothers’ M=54.1). No differences in concrete indicators (t=10.01, p=0.06). There were significant differences in abstract indicators in terms of age group (F=6.37, p=0.01).


Javanese family; Children’s happiness; Mother’s perspectives


Like most other social relationships, sometimes the relationship between parents and children is also constrained [1]. In the practice of psychology, there are some of complaints from parents about the attitude of children who do not meet the expectations of parents. On parents’ perspective, negative attitudes of children are viewed that children would not being appreciate to their parents. But on children's perspective, their attitudes occur when children perceived parent’s demands are unreasonable. This problem can be understood because sometimes parents and children have different perspectives when they are looking at a problem. The different stages of development between the children and the parents can be identified as one of the reasons for the emergence of the problems. That each side sees the problem from a different perspective according to their ability based on particular stage of development.

Different stages of development may lead to a gap or distance between parents and children, which may lead to parents’ misunderstanding about their children's attitudes, or vice versa (OECTA, 2016) [2]. This problem can be seen as a part of an intergenerational gap. It can be lead to difference standard or expectation of happiness [2]. Parents believe that they have an important influence in creating children's happiness according to the parents’ standard [3]. However, parents and children often measure happiness according to self-interest so that children can have different standard of happiness from their parents. Furthermore, this condition can lead to parents-children conflict which then leads to the emergence of unhappy feelings on both side of children and parents. Parents-children conflict shows poor quality of parents and children relationships that can cause unhappiness on both sides [4].

The research on children aged 9-10 years old, who grew up in the city of Yogyakarta, found that their happiness is indicated through material indicators, namely hedonic happiness [5,6]. At this age, Piaget stated that the children's cognitive development is at the final stage of operational concrete leading to formal operations so that concrete measures still influence their judgment [7]. Similar research conducted by Anand and Roope found that material is the only important factor affecting the children’s development and happiness [8]. A survey of children aged 10-14 years in the UK in 2005, used money and other materials as the indicators to determine their happiness [9]. To anticipate the paradigm of Piaget's cognitive development the indicators used for the research on children aged between 10-14 years should be in a form of abstract indicators [7]. That fact emerges a question: what is the paradigms or indicators of happiness of children at the age of 7-11 years who are in the stage of pre-operational cognitive development toward concrete operational stage? Possible problem that arises is whether the children's happiness paradigm can be captured and interpreted equally by their parents who meet the children on daily basis and want their children to be happy? This research will try to find the paradigm of happiness from the parents’ and children’s perspectives. When parents and children used the same paradigm, the probability of the problem that arises is very small, but if the paradigm is different, it is likely to cause problems because of their different demands. Uncovering the paradigms of happiness between parents and children will allow parents to anticipate creating a conducive environment for children’ growth, especially given that childhood happiness is essential for optimizing child development [10].

Happiness is a mental condition when someone feels comfortable, calm, and peaceful. This condition leads to a sense of satisfaction. Its main characteristics is the presence of positive emotions [11,12]. Waterman defined happiness as eudaimonic. Ryan and Deci explored the happiness theory and divided two main area namely hedonic theory and eudaimonic theory [6,13]. The hedonic is the happiness related to the satisfaction and enjoyment of the mind and the body matter [6]. This concept illustrates the happiness that tends to use concrete indicators. On the other hand, eudaimonia is the happiness related to the satisfaction in one's life while doing activities that make his potential to grow and have a more meaningful life. Eudaimonic happiness is gained when one is able to realize his potential through the activities he does. In essence, eudaimonic refers to the well-being definition of self-meaning, self-actualization, selfgrowth, and commitment to goals and values [14]. The eudaimonic concept inclines to the usage of abstract indicators.

In happiness, cognitive play a role in giving meaning to an emotional experience such as pleasure, joy, and other positive emotions. Feelings that arise and are interpreted will influence and direct one's actions [15]. In more detail, it is described that (1) happiness is a mental state of satisfaction and a feeling of joy or also (2) a condition free from sickness. This is achieved through the fulfilment of needs and requests. The basis of these feelings is (3) positive emotions that are in line with the presence of satisfaction and feelings of pleasure. Thus, it will cause (4) a balance/harmony within one’s self as well as the environment around him/her. Therefore, happiness is seen as (5) an achievement and a hope, which is generally achieved through the fulfilment of goals and as a reward for a particular endeavor [16]. Happiness generally generates positive and subjective emotions.

Many things cause the emergence of a person's positive emotional state. Butt and Beiser conducted research on 1385 individuals of varying ages [17]. The results of his research mentioned that age has a role in deciding indicators of happiness. Some indicators of happiness differ at different ages. Identified factors such as income, health, social relation, job satisfaction, leisure activities, physical appearance, religion, and fear of growing old are negatively correlated with age. Santrock cites several studies and concludes that within the students, there are three main indicators causing happiness are friends, a good relationship with family, and the ability to have a romantic relationship with the opposite sex [18]. Two studies increasingly convince that at different ages, the indicators of happiness are also different. This condition can be understood because at different ages, a person has different cognitive processes and different expectations to achieve. Different ways of thinking and achieving goals, then, are manifested in different kinds of happiness.

The feelings of pleasure and satisfaction are defined as affective and cognitive components and both are interdependent [19]. Cognitive components become important to a person, especially in perceiving a stimulus that inflict a sense of satisfaction that ultimately leads to happiness [11]. In the perspective of cognitive development, Piaget argues that the children's understanding on environmental conditions is strongly influenced by the way they give meaning to the environment. Children aged 7-11 years have a unique thinking character. When the child is 7 years old, he is in the transition from pre-operational stage to concrete operational stage. At this stage, the prominent thinking character is the concrete thinking. The cognitive disequilibration is formed through the process of interaction with the environment and peers as well as the process of communications with those around them. The process of adaptation and the organization within the children will organize concepts so that the children’s thinking ability of improve into a more mature form, namely the stage of formal operation [18].

Changes in cognitive abilities will further cause changes in hopes and goals of individuals. In children whose cognitive development is at the concrete operational stage, their prominent feature is a concrete way of thinking, they are still showing symptoms of egocentric thought and a transition from concrete to abstract thinking. In relation to happiness, a child feels happy that if he/she gets something concrete and self-centered. The results of Adiyanti, showed that the concept is found in the indicators of happiness proposed by a 9-year-old [5]. The subject of research mentioned that the fulfilment of the needs in the form of objects or activities that desirable to him/her will cause happiness such as: getting a new bike, getting a gift on the birthday, or getting something requested from his/her parents. The children of the research subject also mention that the main source of their happiness is parents, but parents can also be a source of unhappiness for children. Parents as a source of child happiness is shown by the children because the children get something they want from their parents. The children’s welfare indicators are seen from The UNICEF Index of Children's Well Being stating that there are at least 6 dimensions of children's welfare: material, health and safety, education, peer and family relations, behavior, and subjective standard on the wellbeing of young people [20].

The results of study are in line with Mark and Ben on children aged 9-12 years [21]. The subject of the study suggests that social relationship, in this case, the family relationships contributes to the children's happiness. Social relationships are obtained from family and friends. Terry and Huebner also state that the relationship with parents is the primary source of the satisfaction of the lives of children in the primary school age [22]. Therefore, family and peers are major sources of happiness for schoolaged children. In adolescence, the family is also still the main source of happiness [23,24]. In addition, the study conducted by Matthew on children who do not have a father shows that a father’s absence in children’s lives is associated with low welfare of the children that causes poor health, low academic achievement, and lack of parental involvement in school activities [25]. Parents' happiness also affects the happiness of their children.

Hence, some researches prove that parents are source of children’s happiness. In this case, the next question is whether children and parents have the same indicators of happiness in relation to the children 's happiness. When these two groups (parents as adults and children) are observed from the perspective of cognitive development and the expectations, then the indicators of happiness will be different [26]. In relation to the statement of the children that the parents are one source of happiness, then the parents should be able to understand the source of children’s happiness and they should have the same indicators. According to Ryff and Keyes, age differences influence the difference between the concepts of happiness [27]. In the early adult group, the components of happiness include the mastery of the environment, having a positive relationship with others (affiliate), having a purpose in life, and personal growth. But these things will decrease with age, which occurs in middle adult to late adulthood [27]. The component of happiness in the early adult group leads to the theory of life satisfaction. The concept of happiness according to this theory is not only related to the pleasure of oneself as what happens to a child who is only oriented to self-desire, but also related to other people and the process of life as a whole.

From these two views, there are differences in the concept of happiness in children and parents as adults. The concept of happiness in children’s perspective is more directed to what is characterized in the hedonic theory, whereas in parents’ perspective (early adulthood), this concept tends cover the eudaimonic life satisfaction theory. Research on child happiness is generally associated with external factors of the child [28].

Then how do the parents perceive the children's happiness? Will parents use adult perspectives in determining indicators of children’s happiness? Research conducted by Arieh, tried to see indicators of children’s happiness from three perspectives: children, parents, and teachers [20]. The research they did focuses on two dimensions that are often used as indicators of children’s happiness, such as security and school-parent. From that study it is found that there are significant differences on the indicators of happiness in the perspectives of children, parents and teachers.

This research tries to look at indicators of children’s happiness from the perspectives of children and mothers’ perspective. Differences perspective or paradigm in using the indicators of happiness are expected to give meaning to the children’s life who will further bring the optimal development of the children in the future.


Research procedure

Paradigm of "children’s happiness" from the parents’ and children’s point of views was investigated through the definition and indicators of children’s happiness from two groups. To know the aspect indicators of happiness, this research was carried out in 2 stages. In phase 1, the data were collected using Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with children (group 1) and mothers (group 2). Qualitative analysis was done by conducting content analysis on indicators for children and mothers. In phase 2, the research on the aspect indicators of children’s happiness was constructed through questionnaire from the mothers’ and children’s perspectives on children's happiness. The research procedure can be seen in Figure 1 for more details.


Figure 1: Research Procedure.

Research 1

Aim: To find the definition and indicators of "children’ happiness" from the parents’ and children’s perspectives.

Participants: Phase 1 of the research involved 15 children aged 8-11 years old. The children were the 2nd to 5th graders in elementary school. It was also involved 15 parents represented by mothers since the children selected their mothers to be involved in their live. Five mothers were elementary school teachers, 5 mothers work within informal sectors, and other 5 mothers were housewifes. Informed consent was given to children and their parents. If one of them (parents or children) do not agree to be involved, the participants will not be included in this research.

Research Instrument: In the Research 1, the data were collected using focus group discussions (FGD) for 15 children and 15 parents. The FGD topics with children are: "What is happiness in your opinion?" and "What makes you happy?". The FGD topics with mothers are: "What is the children’s happiness from the mothers’ perspective?" and "What indicators make the children happy through the mothers’ perspective?". The data were voice recorded using tape recorder.

Analysis: Qualitative analysis was carried out through content analysis of the indicators of the children's happiness from the mothers’ and children’s perspectives. To find the indicators of happiness, a qualitative analysis was conducted through themes related to the definition of children’s happiness and its indicators. A member checking was done by giving the results back to the mothers and their children to make sure that the data were valid. They were asked to assess whether the outcome reflected the issues from their points of view.

Results: The children define happiness as something concrete and can be directly felt so that the children can smile, feel glad and they feel that all of their requests are fulfilled. These indicators are manifestation of positive emotions. In accordance with Hansen's statement, when parents can meet the demands of their children, then the children will have positive emotions (happiness) [29]. Judging from the answer, it appears that the children’s happiness tends to be more self-oriented. This reflects the form of childhood egocentrism. Egocentrism in children can be seen in the way children assume that others have the same perspective of how they see their own worlds, but children do not have the ability to see the other people’s perspectives, so the children think that their wishes are the best thing for them [30].

On the other hand, mothers defined children's happiness as a feeling of satisfaction in children so that children did not grieve and also when children could make their parents happy. This statement contains two things: the first is that the children's happiness is a positive emotion, yet there is a sense of perception from the parents’ perspective through the phrase that reads "when the children can make the parents/mother happy". Although both see happiness as a positive emotion, parents perceived that "their children will be happy if they can make their parents happy". Apparently, for children aged between 8-11 years old, the idea of being happy by making their parents happy has not yet become their indicators of happiness.

Research 1 also tried to find answers to the question "who is the source of children’s happiness". Table 2 is the answer to the question both from the children’s and the mothers’ perspectives. Children identified different sources of happiness from age to age. At a younger age, the children's orientation of the source of happiness was limited to their surroundings and this kind of source was perceived to have a concrete impact on the children. As children grew up, they could see that their source of happiness widens to other people outside the family. On the other hand, mothers see the source of happiness is more family-centered and the children's inner circle, that is their friends. In the FGD process, the mothers gave the reason that teachers were not a source of happiness for their children because of the school burden that the teachers gave to their children that the children cannot enjoy the days, but at the age of 11 the children saw teachers as one of the sources of their happiness.

FGD results on children’s happiness from the children’s and the mothers’ perspectives
Questions Children’s Perspective on Happiness Mothers’ Perspective on Happiness
Definition of Happiness According to Children’s Perspective Happiness is the pleasure that makes us laugh and all of our requests are fulfilled. Happiness is a feeling of satisfaction that makes the children less sad, and children can make the parents happy.

Table 1: presents the FGD results on the children’s happiness from parents’ and children’s points of view.

The source of children happiness in children’s and mothers’ perspectives
Responses Children                 Mother
  8 years old 9 years old 10 years old 11 years old  
Sources of Happiness Parents Parents Mother Mother Mother
      Father Father Father
  Friends Friends Friends Friends Friends
      Elder siblings Elder siblings Elder siblings
      Younger siblings Younger siblings Younger siblings
        Teachers God
        Other people  

Table 2: The source of children happiness in children’s and mothers’ perspectives.

Both children and mothers believed that family is the source of children’s happiness. Some studies also include family and togetherness with family as the source of happiness. A study by The Children's Society suggests that the source of children’s happiness is when children have relationships with siblings and extended families, spend time with family, and play outdoors with family [9]. In younger children, they did not distinguish between father and mother, that way, they refer father and mother as parents as a whole, but in teen ages, they began to distinguish between father and mother, although both can be sources of happiness. The older children's perspective was similar from their mothers’. From mothers’ perspective, the sources of children’s happiness were people within the family and friends, but adolescents argued otherwise. By the time the children were 11 years old, they began to see people outside the family circle could be their source of happiness. Similarly, mothers’ opinion of God as the source of happiness of children. According to the mothers, all activities related to God (worship, prayer, etc.) were considered important for their children’s happiness, rather than the other context [26]. By perceiving that God is an important part of human life, parents may assume in a same way as Meyers does about God-related life, which is religious life: (1) when a community performs worship together, community members find ourselves as a part of a large, friendly, and protective community [26]. (2) A religion gives meaning to the existence of human life. However, children up to age 11 have not seen God as a source of happiness. This differing perspective of the source of happiness may be one of the reasons behind the communication difficulties between mothers and children. Trommsdorff claims that currently, the burden on children increases due to their obligation to fulfil their parents' wishes [1]. However, parents assume that their wishes will make the children happy, so that this situation will arise conflict between parents and children.

The FGD, which was conducted separately between the group of children and the one with mothers, discussed about the indicators of happiness. In children’s FGD, the children were asked “what makes the children happy?”. The same question was also asked through FGD on the group of mothers. Through the coding method, there were 6 indicators that identified children’s happiness based on the children themselves and 14 indicators from the mother's perspective. The results are presented in Table 3.

No According to Children No According to Mothers Characteristics Orientation on Hedonic / Eudaimonic
1. Fulfilled requests 1. Fulfilled requests Concrete H
2. Having a lot of friends 2. Having a lot of friends Concrete H
3. Having achievements in school 3. Having achievements in school Concrete H
4. Praying on time Concrete H
5. Getting compliments from parents Concrete H
4. Making parents happy 6. Making parents happy Abstract E
5. Harmonious parents Abstract E
6. Getting attention Abstract E
7. Getting affection Abstract E
8. Peaceful living and comfortable atmosphere Abstract E
9. Gaining positive freedom Abstract E
10. Achieving goals Abstract E
11. Performing worship Abstract E
12. Grateful of God’s blessings Abstract E
13. Making parents proud Abstract E
14. Polite to older people Abstract E

Table 3: Indicators of Children’s Happiness by Children and Mothers.

Research 2

Aim: The second research aimed to find out the differences and similarities of the indicators of children’s happiness from mothers’ and children’s perspective, applied to more participants.

Participants: Children involved in Research 2 were between 8-11 years old who followed formal education between 2nd to 5th grades of elementary school. All mothers who filled out the questionnaire were all junior high school graduates.

Research Tools: The questionnaire was prepared based on the indicators obtained from Research 1. Each question in the questionnaire allowed the subjects to score 5 (the most suitable with the opinion of the children/ mothers) and score 1 (the least suitable with the opinion of the children/ mothers). For younger children, the questionnaire was filled in one by one, while for the older children the questionnaire was filled in a classical manner with the help of research assistants. Mothers fill out questionnaire independently as all were adults and junior high school graduates, so it was assumed they could understand the instructions and fill in the questionnaire independently.

Analysis: The data were analyzed using ANOVA to find out whether there were differences between the concept of children’s happiness from the children’s and the mothers’ perspectives, and the differences in indicators of children’s happiness based on age.

Results: ANOVA results showed that there was a significant difference in the indicators of happiness based on the age of the children (F=5.20; p<0.00). From 8 to 10 years old, the number of children using the hedonic-concrete indicators were declining and these indicators were replaced with the abstract-eudaimonic indicators. According to Piaget's notion, during the formal operational phase that lasts from 7 years old to 11/12 years old, there is a qualitative transition from concrete to abstract thinking [30].

Eight-year-old children emphasis more on ‘fulfilled requests’ that make them happy (receiving gifts or money and travelling). For older children 9-10 years old, the indicators of happiness were more oriented to others who play roles in their life. For example, the request to make their parents happy (receiving good grades or having achievements in school, and obeying parents). For younger children, their happiness is self-oriented (the toys for themselves), but for older children, their happiness is oriented toward the others (the achievements that were initially for self-satisfaction then switched to be an endeavor to make their parents happy). Results are presented in Figure 2.


Figure 2: Children who used concrete and abstract indicators according to age.

However, at the age of 11, the direction of the indicators changes from abstract to concrete again. At this age the children begin to be adolescence, children's egocentrism which was reflected in the ideas of imaginary audience and personal fable. Imaginary audience is a teenagers’ belief that others see and care for them [31]. While personal fable is a concept that can encourage teenagers to think that they are "invulnerable". Personal fable enables teenagers to continue their lives even when they are facing various dangers [32]. Imaginary audience and personal fable may be reflected in concrete forms of indicators, such as the way to dress and communicate, etc.

In relation to the sources of happiness, the children declared that the dominant source of happiness was their friends (at the age of 8 years 23% of the respondents chose friends as a source of happiness, while age 9 years=29%, age 10 years=30% and age 11 years=33%). It was assumed that the influence of friends with concrete attributes was to gain social status among the teenagers and it became the reason why friends could be their source of happiness.

The following data were obtained from the mothers’ opinions on the indicators of children’s happiness: there were some significant differences in the indicators of children’s happiness based on the children’s and the mothers’ opinions (F=6.37, p<0.01). In more detail the t-test analysis showed that:

1. There was no significant difference between mothers and children in relation to the concrete indicators of happiness (t=10.01, p=0.06). However, the mean concrete indicators for children (M=48) was higher than that of mothers (M=36.6). For concrete indicators, most children and mothers stated that children's happiness would be achieved if "the children's wishes are fulfilled". This means that children will be happy if their wishes are fulfilled and mothers also agree that their children’s happiness is determined by whether or not their wishes are fulfilled. Furthermore, the mother said that children would be happy if their wishes were fulfilled by parents. But most parents claimed that the norms of the respective parents subjectively define the standard of requests fulfilment, for example the children are happy when their requests match the ability of the parents.

2. There were significant differences for abstract indicators between mothers and children (t=11.26, p<0.05). Children used fewer abstract indicators (M=47.5) than mothers (M=54.1). For younger children, 26% of the indicators were abstract but as they grew up, the abstract indicators became clearer. The differences in the indicators of happiness are presented in Figure 3.


Figure 3: Differences in abstract indicators between mother and children based on age.

Children defined happiness as a condition in which they felt joy and excitement (89%). 11% of them characterized happiness as a feeling of comfort, security and satisfaction. Meanwhile, mothers stated that children felt happy whenever they felt joy and excitement (55%), while 31% of all the mothers stated that children were happy whenever they felt comfortable and satisfied, and the rest 14% said that children’s happiness was whenever their children were relaxed (not depressed). Essentially, there was no difference in understanding between the idea of children's happiness stated by children and mothers, but the vocabularies used by children is positive, meanwhile those which were used by mothers were negative sentences.

Interestingly, different responses were found among different age groups of children for the question of “what makes the children happy”. Two indicators of happiness were found: concrete and self-centered indicators (things related to activity, primary needs) as well as abstract and otherdirected indicators (meeting parents' expectations, making parents happy, making friends happy). The results are presented in Figure 3

Figure 3 presents various indicators which cause children's happiness. The results show that the increase in the abstract level in relation to the happiness indicators evolve from the younger to the older age groups shown by the blue line. The clear transition is visible among the 5th graders. Based on Piaget's cognitive developmental terms, 5th grade elementary school aged 10-11 years old underwent transition from informal to formal operational thinking mode [7]. Mothers, nevertheless, expected that children would begin to develop abstract thinking when they reached the 3rd and 4th grade or when they were 8-9 years old. But when children were 10 years old and had started thinking abstractly, mothers perceived that their children were still using a less abstract way of thinking.

Based on the UNICEF Index of Children’s Well Being, there are at least 6 dimensions of children’s well-being: material welfare, occupational health and safety, education, family and peer relationships, behaviors and risks, and subjective feelings of youth towards welfare [20]. Subjective prosperity and well-being are the results of the fulfilment of these 6 indicators. The current study finds 4 indicators matching the children’s state and condition. One indicator of happiness is the fulfilment of the children’s material needs. This is the same indicator mentioned by parents. Parents presumed that children would be happy when their material needs were fulfilled; for example, some of primary needs, such as food, beverages, clothing and education. Therefore, the children’s material needs were associated with their secondary needs such as allowance, bicycles, and toys. For older children, happiness means going on a picnic, hanging out, and having enough allowance.

Receiving good grades or making academic achievements were other indicators of happiness found in older children. For children in 2nd grade, primary school academic achievement was not an indicator of happiness. For older children, some strategies were done to maintain academic performance and remained persistent and learnt diligently. If their academic achievements were unsustainable, they would not be happy and could not make their parents proud (displeased their parents).

Family relationships also became an important indicator of happiness for children. For children aged 8 years old, they mentioned that they would be happy if their parents loved him, although not every child mentioned this. For older children, harmonious family was an important indicator of happiness, such as family gathering, harmony between parents, and being obedient to their parents. Friendship becomes one indicators of happiness of a child, although this was not considered as important. Younger children stated that they were happy when they "have many friends", but older children state "sharing experiences with friends or hanging out and playing with friends" made them happy. Older children did not mention the number of friends, they more emphasize their friendship bond, instead.

Both younger and older children did not mention health and safety as indicators of their happiness. Only one child mentioned health as an indicator of his/her happiness. In contrast, mothers mentioned that health and safety were important indicators of children’s happiness "if children are healthy and safe then they will be happy". These results showed the difference between indicators of children’s happiness according to the children and the parents.

As mentioned earlier, the meaning of happiness and judgment of an incident is strongly influenced by the way children think. At the age of 7, Piaget states that one characteristic of children at the operational stage is that their minds are concrete and self-centered [7]. Children at this stage initially think in terms of themselves but as they are growing older and getting more mature, their egocentrism declines, making them be able to think beyond their own abilities. Initially, the things outside themselves are all units in their microsystems such as parents, and siblings, but then it develops into friends and teachers [33].

The data obtained showed that the way 10-year-olds think is oriented towards their surroundings but there were signs that they were still significantly involved in egocentric thoughts.

This study has found something interesting, however, the variations in family background (parenting level, socioeconomic status, parent age, family size) are thought to be influential, not carefully controlled.


Based on the result of the research, following are several things that can be concluded:

1. Children and their mother have similar definition on the concept of children’s happiness. Both perceive happiness as positive emotions

2. Although they share the same definition of happiness, their identification of happiness is different. The obvious differences occur in the abstracteudaimonic indicators paradigm, in the paradigm concrete- hedonic indicators seems no differences. Children identify their happiness tend to self-centered with 6 indicators, while parents identify the children’s happiness tend to condition when children can meet parents’ demands with 14 indicators.

3. When children are at younger ages, the source of happiness is centered on family and friends, then it increasingly extends beyond the family circle and is continuously differentiated.



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