How to Raise Grateful Kids

5:42 PM

The Christmas Season offers so many opportunities for parents to teach children about the importance of being grateful. From the simple act of receiving gifts which they may not like or appreciating what they have instead of focusing of what they do not have, the value of being grateful is one treasure parents can bequeath to their children at any time. Parents who are able to raise grateful kids can save themselves a lot of heartache in the future.

So how can parents raise grateful kids ?

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Do Not Protect Them From the Truth

Without resorting to melodramatics, parents should be able to explain to their children who are already able to understand that there is work involved in producing what is provided to them. In this age of entitlement where many children expect to be given not only what they need but also what they want, many parents are caught up in the guilt trip and succumb to the pressure or the trend, whatever the case may be. They buy things for their children at the cost of their own financial risk because explaining to them why something cannot be bought is just too inconvenient and combative.

Children need to get a "NO" answer from their parents once in a while especially if the situation warrants it. They need to understand what sacrifices will result if they insist on getting their way. One of the most hurtful things I heard a child say to his mother who was ranting about all her sacrifices for her child was this: " It is your duty to provide me all these things, I never asked to be your child." True but still hurtful and uncalled for. Clearly, this can only come from a child who has been spoiled rotten and was never taught how to appreciate what others do for him.

Do Not Let Everything Revolve Solely Around Him/Her

It is a given that the parents' world revolve mostly around their children. However, it would be best not to allow them to think that everything starts and stops because they want to. In raising up kids, it is always necessary to do it in consideration of all the other members of the family, household, or community. 

Children must be made to understand that there are other people to consider including their parents. It is a fact that it is the obligation of the parents to take care of and provide for their children. However, it is also a fact that in parent-child relationships, there will come a time that there will be reversal of roles because of natural aging. What would happen to aged parents of grown-up children who never learned to give back? We can just imagine...

My Say

More often than not, parents have the very difficult role of extending understanding to their children whatever the circumstances. It is something that is expected but not to be abused and taken for granted. Parents are human. They hurt, they bleed and get angry. Like children, parents will need understanding which can be outrageous to a child who has been so used to the one-way understanding extended by parents.

That said, I for one as a parent do not expect my children to pay me for what I have done for them but I do expect them to honor what I did by not diminishing its value no matter how humble it may seem when they are all grown-up. I ask for respect, appreciation, and kind words in return, not grand announcements of sacrifices that family members should willingly make for each other. Grateful kids do not blame their parents for the woes they brought upon themselves and will live up to their responsibility when it is time. Truly grateful kids will know that by instinct.

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