Getting Kids to Say "Thank You" and Mean It!
“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:8
We talk to many parents who tell us their kids are not grateful, that the kids just expect to be fed, clothed, taken places, cared for, given computers and cell phones and so on, with no sense of thankfulness.
“How do we get them to be more thankful?” is a common question at our workshops.
We give a threefold answer. First, maybe parents should quit giving their kids so much, and help the kids learn that life is not handed to them on a silver platter. For example, a child who has been given the responsibility for chores or preparing and cleaning up a meal, who understands how much work and planning is involved, and who knows how much time and effort are needed, is much more inclined to be grateful when a meal is served. Or a child who instead of getting all the toys he wants, is required to use his own hard-earned money to get them, is more likely to feel grateful when he is given gifts. When you own the responsibility for your own life, you tend to appreciate the gifts and blessings that come your way unearned, or undeserved.
Second, we have seen that kids don’t develop grateful hearts when they don’t feel appreciated themselves. They don’t learn to thank others if they rarely get thanked. So finding ways for growing kids to truly be responsible (needed) for important aspects of family life will help them be positioned to be the recipients of gratitude. Once you position them, then energetically THANK THEM! When people are recipients of gratitude, they learn to be grateful.
Finally, we see that kids aren’t grateful because parents have done little to nothing to foster environments of gratitude in their own lives. Instead of showing gratitude for jobs, parents often complain. Instead of expressing thankfulness for the blessing of family and safety, we tend to take these things for granted. Ask yourself this question: “When was the last time my child saw and heard my exuberant expression of gratitude?” If kids don’t see authentic gratitude in action, they won’t learn to be authentically grateful.
So – Be grateful so your kids see it. Give them responsibility for their lives, and opportunities to serve the needs of others. And express your appreciation when they serve. Habitually do these things and you’ll develop grateful kids.
Speaking of Gratitude:
We are grateful for the many who gave on November 16th – “Give to the Max” day to launch our year-end campaign. $4875 was given – and matched – for a total of $9850! This is a great start toward reaching more parents in 2012!
We are grateful also for the many who have given throughout the year. Your gifts keep us strong and assure that we can be available in numerous ways to reach families. Whether you’ve given or not, please consider whether you can give a special year-end gift to help launch Connected Families into another bold year of reaching families. We still have $15,125 in matching funds available, so click here to read some success stories and double your gift!
Regardless of where you choose to give, remember that you are blessed so that you can bless others. May yours be a Thanksgiving filled with blessing and gratitude that overflow to those around you!