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10 Secrets of a Happy Childhood

3. Set fair rules and stick to them.

Young children derive happiness from feeling secure, says Andy Spooner, M.D., director of general pediatrics at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis. "Imagine standing at the edge of the Grand Canyon," he says. "You'd enjoy yourself if there were a sturdy guardrail to protect you. If it were missing, you'd feel uneasy." Kids thrive when there are firm boundaries for their behavior.