Do you ever wonder if you are raising ungrateful children? Our kids have long lists of wants. Wants that they think are needs. My kids have all their needs met and have so many extras yet they still complain about what they don’t have.
What are some easy ways to avoid raising ungrateful children?
I’m learning as I go. My children are still young. I don’t know what I am doing. If it makes you feel better, Kristin Welch at We Are That Family says that the secret to raising grateful kids doesn’t exist. (Bummer, I know!)
Yet I do know I want to raise grateful children. I do know I get tired of hearing “I wants” and that what they have is not enough in their little minds.
Thankfully, I think as parents there are some simple things we can do to help cultivate gratitude in our children.
7 Ways to Avoid Raising Ungrateful Children:
Isn’t there something about serving that takes your eyes off of yourself? Be there for those around you. Serve not only financially but also with your time. Have your kids be very involved in the process.
Here are some simple ideas to get you started:
- Making cookies for someone that recently had a loss
- Delivering a meal for a family after a surgery
- Doing yard work for an individual who can’t
- Volunteering at a refugee center, homeless shelter, or crisis pregnancy center
2. Don’t Give Your Children Everything
Just because your child wants something, doesn’t mean you need to buy it for them! It might feel mean to say no when all of their friends have it but it’s okay to tell your child “no, you aren’t old enough or it’s not appropriate” or “you are right, that sounds like a lot of fun. If you want it, you will have to save up for it”.
When you work hard for something, it’s tends to be appreciated (and taken care of) a lot more. It will also help your children learn that money doesn’t magically appear – they learn and appreciate its value.
Not only will your kids be grateful for their prized item when they save up and make the purchase, they will also be more grateful in the future for things that are given them.
3. Gratitude List
Anyone else guilty of sometimes forgetting the big picture? Of sometimes only seeing the negative and stressful moments? I know it can’t just be me. Our kids are the same way! Having a gratitude list is a great way to help change their mindset and how they view life.
Buy a simple notebook for everyone in your house and challenge them to start writing down 2 or 3 things they are thankful for everyday. Even the little ones can get involved – have them dictate to you their “thankfuls”. You can also print off one of the free gratitude printables in the resource library you receive access to as a subscriber!
4. Thank You Cards
Did you grow up writing thank you cards? Keep the tradition going with your kids! After their birthdays and Christmas have them sit down and write (or draw) notes before they spend the money or use the gifts. My mom was great about doing this with us. I’ve tried to continue doing it with my children. I need to work on being a little more prompt with it. Thank you cards months late just aren’t quite the same.
5. Ditch the Media
Companies everywhere are trying to get our kids to want to have (have to have) their products! If the “gimmes” and “I wants” are a big problem in your house, consider how much screen time they have. Commercials, YouTube channels, ads on electronic devices, and kids’ shows can all contribute to the need for more. Limiting media might also just help your kids enjoy and utilize the toys they do have!
6. Read the News
Read the news with your kids or give age appropriate summaries. Learn about other countries and cultures around the world. Being aware of the world outside of their own community broadens their horizons and gives them a bigger picture. Learning about natural disasters and fighting in another country suddenly makes your want seem not quite as important.
7. Leading by Example
This is a little scary, isn’t it? Our kids are watching us and how we react. If we change our tune and start responding to circumstances differently, they probably will too.
Instead of seeing the glass half empty, purpose to look for the little glimmers of hope, the gifts in our lives, and all that we have to be grateful for even when life isn’t going the way we want. What an example we would be to our children.
We need to give thanks in everything. Not just the good, not just the exciting. Not just when life is going well. Even when it’s a struggle to find one thing to be thankful for.
When we do, and we let our children hear us give thanks, we are influencing them and how they respond. How can we do that – give thanks even in the bad? There’s only one way – looking to Jesus. Our joy has to be found in Him.
What ways have you found to avoid raising ungrateful children?
Don’t forget to check out the resource library for the free gratitude template downloads!
If you want to read an entire book on this subject, check out this one by Kristin Welch: