A few tips to develop in children the attitude of gratitude

One of the biggest disappointments among many Asian parents whom I know, is that their children are not grateful to what they have and for what the parents are doing for them. Parents sacrifice many things to save money, but we hear some children telling that parents don’t care for them? 

You might have noticed that every time children needs something, they becomes very sweetie and chatty, but after the need is fulfilled, some of them don’t even look at you. Many parents expect their children to spend few minutes when they come home from work, but children don’t have time for this, why? They are on their phone or other devices. They are happy spending time in their devices rather than talking to their parents. 

Parents do so much for their children, but many children do not shows acknowledgement, neither through their words, nor action. Many parents’ struggles to deal with this, thus they sometimes grumble or try to ignore it. Several parents do not know much about what to do. In this situation, you have to share everything you’re doing for your children with them. This might looks bit strange, but remember, that if you want to be happy yourself and want happy relationship with your children, there’s probably nothing more important than telling them what you are doing for them to be grateful to you, to God and to the society. This is mainly because, being grateful, of course, is a deep personal experience which can transform your experience of relationship and life.

We all know that on a daily basis parents teach their young children, how to use the bathroom, teach them language, teach them how to count, and teach them other things, so why don’t we teach them how to be grateful as well? It’s so simple. It’s important that parents teach them to be grateful. If parents just hope that the child will develop gratitude on their own, you may be mistaken. We don’t expect children to learn Maths, English or Science on their own, isn’t it? It will be worth to include in your parenting curriculum the aspect of teaching children to be grateful. The question will be how one will do this? There can be different ways and methods. I have a few suggestions. First of all, practice gratefulness at home so that children may see and imbibe it in themselves. In your house, talk about how grateful you are to your own parents, your teachers, elders and above all to God. Show it through your action, even if your relationship with your parents/grandparents are not perfect. Secondly, create an environment at home for children to actually know the cost you are paying for their lives. This involves friendly sharing of your daily struggles and the expenses involved in managing home, paying utility bills etc. A good sharing can help in children understanding what you’re going through for them. 

Finally sit down with your children, if possible every day, at least once a week and ask them, in the past one week, what were the things that they were thankful for, towards God, family members and others? This sounds like a strange question, as you’re forcefully trying to get compliments. But remember, this is not about you, this is about them. They need to sit and think. Make them write the things they are grateful for, towards God, family members and others, on a piece of paper. Make it concrete. Initially it might seems very artificial and awkward, but gradually it will normalize and it will sink in. In summary, make gratitude the doctrine of your house. Practice it yourself, teach it your children consistently. 

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