5 Ways To Raising A Grateful Kid
How do we raise children who aren't constantly going "I want I want I want"? Here are some strategies to raising grateful children.
Mila Kunis and hubby Ashton Kutcher recently joked that to raise their kids to be grateful in our over-entitled world, they were going to raise them poor.
"It's a matter of teaching them from a very early age that, you know, 'Mummy and Daddy may have a dollar, but you're poor ... You are very poor, you have nothing. Mummy and Daddy have a bank account.'"
Kunis goes on to say that this is important because both parents grew up very poor and are very much self-made and aware of what a dollar is worth.
It's great to see such level-headedness from a celebrity, but all jokes aside, it IS a challenge to raise grateful children in materialistic world where people believe that the more you have, the happier you are. So how do we raise children who aren't constantly going "I want I want I want"?
Here are some strategies to raising grateful children:
Catering to a child's every whim and fancy can make them feel entitled. Help your children feel grateful for what they have by giving up something for a week. Is it TV? Air-conditioning? Going out for dinner? It will help them (and you!) appreciate the simple things and feel empathy for those who go without.
No, they cannot upgrade to a new smartphone after only a year. No, they cannot have those fancy shoes just because everyone thinks they are "cool". Be disciplined enough to practice delayed gratification and simply not always giving your children what they want, even if you can easily afford it.
Practice gratefulness yourself. Say "thank you" often, and mean it. No matter how small an act, generously thank the people who interact with you in a positive way — the person who bags your groceries, the stranger who holds the door for you, your waiter or waitress.
Look for the blessing or humor in a situation that didn't turn out the way you wanted instead of whining and complaining about it. When it rains when you wanted to go swimming, or their favorite food on the menu has run out, look for the positive, like "rain washes the haze away" or "look, now you can try something new."
Make time to volunteer- whether at an orphanage or a pet shelter to show your children truly, how people can live with very little. Donate clothes and toys to those in need and have your kids be a part of that process. Do this regularly as a family and sort through, package and deliver the goods together so the kids really see where their things are going.
It's easy to feel helpless when life does not go our way. Instead of being all down and defeated, change your perspective and challenge your kids to do the same. Most importantly, don't give up just try and try again. Like sweet Moza, daughter of Singaporean celebrity Norfasarie who was born with one arm but is determined to play a musical instrument anyway: