Raising a grateful child
Most parents want to raise children who appreciate what they have, are responsible for their behavior and think about the needs of others. In today’s world, raising children who are grateful for, rather than entitled to, what they have can be an everyday challenge. Take the following tips into consideration as you’re working to instill an attitude of gratitude in your children, remembering each parent decides for their family what is too much and what is enough. What you consider “right” depends on your personal values and what you want to teach your children about material possessions, being responsible and giving and receiving. Below are some tips for parents raising a grateful child.
- Be aware of your values AND actions surrounding gratitude. As a grateful role model, have a charitable spirit and meet your obligations and children will learn these values by acting as you do.
- Teach your children the concept of “enough.” Together you can make up a list of all the things they have enough of, and all the many special treasures your family has. By using the term “enough” while talking with children, it helps them to learn what the concept means and they begin to understand moderation and self-control.
- Be aware of your parenting style. Work to become comfortable setting reasonable limits. Establish rules, and impose and follow through with sensible consequences. Remember to balance discipline with lots of love, caring and understanding.
- Recognize your own needs and get them met directly, not through your children. By doing this, you are less likely to over-indulge them because YOU feel deprived or are too dependent upon them for acceptance and love.
- Do not do for your children what they can do for themselves. Encourage them to be as independent as possible and they will gain a sense of capability and responsibility. Hold your children accountable for their behavior. Do not “over-protect” them by rescuing them from their responsibilities or by making excuses for them. Help them learn from their mistakes rather than bailing them out of trouble.
- As your children mature and you give them increased privileges, be sure to pair those with increased responsibilities.
- Listen to your children’s wants and help them learn the difference between wants and needs. Be confident in your judgment about whether to meet the requests/demands they make.
- Teach your children to be smart consumers and critical thinkers when it comes to advertising and media. Limit/monitor what they watch on television, the video games they play, the movies they go to, and all of the electronic communication means they utilize.
- Spend time with your children more often than you spend money on them. Children will remember outings you took with them or talks you had with them far longer than they will remember the latest technology gadget you bought for them.
- Make giving and volunteering a habit. Set aside toys and clothing in good condition and deliver the items to a deserving cause together. Talk about what you are doing and why you care.
You are the most influential expert on your own children, and can guide them on what type of person they will become and what values they will have.
Source: The Center for Parenting Education