Ever walk past a mother and her whiny child?
What do you think? “Can’t she handle her child?”
Teaching your children manners and to have respect is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight but ultimately it’s up to you to show them.
Encouraging gratitude in children, especially in adolescents, is particularly important.
Children who know how to be grateful are more likely to be happy and less likely to have behavioral problems. Kids who practice gratitude also tend to be more optimistic about the future, which is very important when choosing the path in life.
Parents are those responsible for teaching their kids to be grateful, but it is not an easy task.
Let’s look at 7 powerful ways you, as a parent, can instill gratitude in your children.
1. Being a Model of Gratitude
As it is with everything you want to teach your children, for teaching gratitude you have to be a model of gratitude.
Kids are often confused about family values because parents are saying one thing and doing something completely different. Telling a child to be grateful will not be effective unless it is demonstrated with gratitude in your own life.
To do this, show your child that you are grateful for the good things that happen around you, from the good food you are enjoying to the time you spend with family, instead of complaining about everything.
2. Take Advantage of Difficult Situations
It’s easy to be thankful when things go well. However, it is not easy to show gratitude when problems arise. It’s in these difficult times when we have to make the best of ourselves and help our children discover reasons to be grateful.
Help your children find something to be thankful for, even in the worst moments. Even when things don’t go as they want, good things can still happen.
Explain to them that they can learn something new from puzzling or unpleasant situations. This approach will help them become better people in the future.
3. Create a Wall of Gratitude
Sometimes, it’s not easy to express gratitude or discover what things can awaken our gratitude. A useful way to express yourself and to discover it, is to create a wall of gratitude, a common place where the family put messages of thanks or photos of what they welcome into their lives.
4. Help Your Child Find a Purpose in Life
Children doing things they are passionate about are much more likely to experience gratitude and be thankful.
Help your kids explore the different opportunities to do something that motivates and excites them. The work tasks involving voluntary social actions are especially good to learn to appreciate what they have.
5. Foster Internal Motivation in Your Child
The external motivators can help children behave politely when other people are watching them.
But if you want your child to behave selflessly and be thankful, you should focus on internal motivators. Talk to your child about how you feel when you help other people and how gratitude improves mood in addition to their general welfare. Such benefits may help motivate your child to experience the gratitude more often.
5. Seek Help from Superheroes
All kids love to watch movies and cartoons, and the best role model they can look up to, besides you, are superheroes.
They are people who always help others and are always grateful for what they have, especially the fact that they are useful to others. Organizing superhero and army parties for the kids would not only be enjoyable, but a good experience for them as well, so that they could start feeling and acting like a superhero in the real world.
6. Favor the Independence of Your Child
It’s important for children to have a sense of independence and autonomy. When they are able to make healthy choices for themselves and can get rewards for behavior they choose, and not only for the things that parents tell them to do, the kids are more likely to experience a feeling of gratitude. Help your child develop the skills essential for independence, such as the skills of problem solving and assertiveness. Also, give them the opportunity to make decisions independently.
It is very healthy to learn to give thanks. Being thankful means to feel lucky. Teach your children to see the world through the eyes of gratitude, thus giving them a chance for a better and happier life.
Over to you – how do you teach your kids to be respectful and grateful?