7 Ways to Raise Grateful Children Instead of Entitled, Spoiled Kids
I’ve had several people ask me how they can help their children to
be grateful for what they have instead of complaining about what they don’t have.
If you think about it, gratitude is a learned behavior. It doesn’t come naturally to adults or children. People are naturally self-centered, but if we want our children to be happy, we need to help them have an attitude of gratitude. Contentment and gratitude build happiness.
Having an attitude of gratitude can be difficult. We live in an entitled society, now more than ever. Everything is instant. We don’t like to plan, let alone wait, for anything. Learning to be grateful is not a one time event. Children need to have grateful living happening around them on a daily basis. They need to see what other-centered living, instead of self-centered living, looks like.
So Let’s Take a Look At 7 Ways We Can Help Our Children Show Gratefulness
It seems like any time our children have issues with poor attitudes, it always comes back to the parents, doesn’t it. (sigh)
Gratefulness is learned from modeling. If we as parents sincerely show gratefulness in our everyday lives, our children will too. In addition to living a life of gratitude, when you’re at the grocery store or post office, point out other people who are being kind to others.
“That man opened the door for the lady and let her go first.”
“Isn’t it nice that that boy picked up the package for that older gentleman when he dropped it.”
2. Teach your children how to give by giving.
We need to share frequently and generously with our family, neighbors, and friends. Just remembering to say please and thank you can have an impact on our children as well as ourselves. Look for opportunities for your family to give or share with others.
- Joining organizations that are truly helping others helps us reach out beyond ourselves. One of our favorite family projects is participating with The Voice of the Martyrs . Through their ministry, you can send Action Packs to needy families and you can also write letters to people who have been imprisoned for their faith.
- If you don’t live near your children’s grandparents, you could adopt a senior citizen in your church, local nursing home, or assisted living center who doesn’t have family who lives close by. They would love to have visitors and your children would learn to care for others outside their own family plus have the experience of learning from an elderly person.
3. Help your children learn your family values. Now’s the time to think about what does your family value?
- the ability to work
- spending time with family
- following through with what we start
- taking care of our possessions
- taking care of other people’s property that we use or borrow
4. Start a family tradition of choosing to be grateful instead of thinking like a martyr and having a “poor me” attitude.
5. Assign age appropriate tasks to your children.
Children need to feel that they are contributing members of the family and that you depend on them. They will learn that completing their tasks requires some effort and they will feel the satisfaction of contributing to their family and taking care of what they have. Also, appreciating and taking care of their pets can teach wonderful lessons.
6. Look for ways to bless or serve others.
- Teach children to respond with gratitude. Writing thank you notes to people who have given them gifts is a dying art that needs to be reborn in the hearts of our families.
- Donating their surplus of extra toys and books to other families who need them is a great wayto learn to share with others.
- Blessing others by donating your family’s time to help with fund raisers is a great way to reachout beyond your own family to bless others.
Teach children that happiness and thankfulness is a choice, and then live that principle yourself. We can choose to focus on what we’re grateful for and encourage our children to do the same.
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