Estimated Reading Time: 10 Minutes.
Teaching Kids Gratitude Will Give Them Joy.
Sometimes, little minds have a hard time grasping all they have in front of them and focusing on what they DON’T have. (Such as fighting over the one toy that the other kid is playing with in a room full of AVAILABLE toys.)
A few days ago I asked my son for a bite of his candy after I got him an ice cream cone that day (no judgement, the treat was given by someone else without my permission) HE WOULD NOT SHARE IT!
I just about lost it.
I mean, here we have a boy who is given nearly everything he wants- We take him to an activity on average twice a week and I’m the type of mom that will rarely say no to him picking out a new toy car EVERY TIME WE GO TO TARGET.
AND I’M NOT EVEN GOING TO TALK ABOUT HIS PLAYROOM.
I’ve got a problem. My child is spoiled.
What the worst part about this revelation of mine is that it’s not his fault. I need a reality check, because it’s really about how my husband and I are raising him.
A Parent’s Success Is Reflected On Their Child’s Behavior
Bing! Mom Revelation! (Thank you God!)
It’s not just that we spend too much on him and don’t have him express gratitude enough (saying Thank You when getting what he wants does NOT fix the problem, it’s deeper than that). Izaak will say thank you when he knows that he’s getting a toy. Who wouldn’t say thank you if it meant that you could get everything that you wanted?
Izaak needs to feel gratitude for what he does have and be thankful for the numerous gifts given to him everyday. A warm house and food on the table. His faith, family and friends. The room of toys that are already in his playroom and his puppy waiting for him to come so that they can play.
The problem goes even deeper. I can’t just try to change Izaak’s behavior without working on my own. Izaak mimics my behavior and those who are close to him. If he’s being ungrateful, it’s more than likely that he’s living in a pessimistic household.
I Need To Take A Look At My Own Behavior
Not only am I not grateful enough but I teach my child to not be grateful by giving him exactly what he wants without reminding him what he does have.
It seems hard for the American culture to feel gratitude even though everyone in this great country is truly blessed with many freedoms and opportunities.
Comparison Is The Thief Of Joy
We see people on Facebook that can afford stuff that we don’t have, or that appear to be happier than we are. And even though we know that social media is basically an illusion, we can’t help to feel a ping of jealousy.
Ding! Jealousy is at your door! (Or more likely at your computer or smartphone screen.)
Why are we jealous of the fake lives of friends (or frenemies)? Why do we only showcase the good things? The pictures of us in the “perfect” poses with three filters so we don’t look “ugly”?
If you think about it, that’s really f****d up.
My kids isn’t responsible for his lack of appreciation, so I’m going to start working together with my boy to find gratitude in everyday life.
For Izaak to not desire a new car all of the time but instead appreciate the ones that he has (and more importantly to appreciate the things in his life that aren’t classified as “material goods).
For me to stop eyeing that Chanel purse that costs more than three of our house payments. Or that diamond necklace that is way too gaudy.
Its Ok To Spend Money As Long As You Have It.
Don’t Let Yourself Become Unhappy By Focusing On What You Don’t Have
Taking time to appreciate the gifts that God has given us is necessary for happiness. Making sure that we know that the best things in life are free is even more important.
Things I appreciate Today And Should Appreciate Everyday
- That I am alive and healthy
- My freedom as an American citizen
- God’s love for me
- My beautiful family
- The friends that love me for who I am
- My fun job (Izaak- his Christian education)
- The passion I have for writing
- Motherhood and having a husband who loves being a dad (Izaak-having a mom and dad who loves him)
- Fresh air
- Birds chirping in Springtime
- Music that lifts my soul
And so much more…
Experiencing gratitude has numerous emotional and mental benefits. The feeling of euphoria of knowing what your life is worth to God, who gives everything that you have is infinity beautiful.
We are working on this together, as a family.
I thank God for the push he gave me. He saw not only how my behavior was affecting my child but also reminded me that it was MY JOB to change his behavior.
It is important to teach my son about gratitude.
The best way to do this is to teach by example. Another great way is to teach him though expression in the form of art.
A Free Gift From Mom To Mom
It’s just another way to teach children how much they actually have to be grateful for.
I’ve created a free “I’m thankful for” printable. Kids can write or draw what they are thankful for in the hearts.
Simply download the file and print! Here’s what it looks like:
Download this printable here:
I think IT IS CRUCIAL to teach children at a young age how much they really have. A warm house, family, faith, food on the table, great friends, all of these and more mean so much in a world of confusion and materialism.
I feel blessed when I know what God has given me and cursed when I don’t.
How do you teach your child about #gratitude ♥♥♥
-Holly, the imperfect momma.