Turning Ungrateful Kids into Grateful Kids

Four Steps to Turning an Ungrateful Kid into a Grateful One, by Dr. Brad Schwall

Your kid has everything he needs or even wants.  How do you get a kid who has everything to be grateful?  Selling everything you own and living off the grid?

This won’t be good news to you.  You can’t make your kids be grateful.  

Modeling actions that show gratitude every day plants the seed.  Living a life of gratefulness over time allows gratitude to take root.

Every Day

1.  Say “thank you.”
The first step is simple.  Basic manners teach gratitude.  Say “thank you” to the checker at the store.  Write “thank you” notes.  Tell a family member thanks for bringing something to you.  Thank someone for giving a ride.  Saying “thank you” becomes a habit.  Say it and say it often and it will become a habit of your child’s too.

2.  Treat people with kindness.  
Be aware of how you treat people in your everyday interactions.  Let people go first in the carpool line or grocery line.  Make conversation with people who serve you or help you.  Help other parents and help at school.  Rudeness towards others communicates entitlement and that they are not as important as you - that you do not have time for inconveniences and others are in your way slowing you down as you complete your important tasks.  Slow down and be kind.

Over Time

3.  Be grateful when it really counts.  
We experience grief, loss, and challenges at different stages of our lives.  Cancer, illness, emotional stress, worry, and disappointment all disrupt our normal lives and force us to stop and think about our lives.  It’s during these dark times that we may actually experience the deepest level of gratitude.  Being thankful in the midst of difficulties is gratitude that is real and genuine.

4.  Be grateful for things you can’t see.  
Focus on people, not things.  We may be thankful to have food, shelter, and money.  But, things do not bring happiness.  We can have hope and joy no matter what the circumstances are.  When our gratitude is for people and what we have even when everything else is gone, we live out true gratefulness.  Your faith in your family is the key driver for being grateful.  Thanking God shows gratitude that extends beyond the material and the temporary.