No one plans to raise a selfish child or spoiled brat. Every parent dreams of their child being selfless, generous, and appreciative. But it’s challenging to raise a grateful child in a culture that has a hard time saying no. We love our kids and want to give them the world. How do we say no to our child when “every other child” gets “everything they want?”
“Gratitude opens you up to the abundance that is out there and lets you recognize the goodness in your life,” says Froh, a psychology professor who has conducted eight gratitude studies over the past three years. According to Froh, a grateful child feels more connected and loved. After all, if he’s able to understand that many others care enough to make an effort for him, his life is improved.
In Hebrew, the word for gratitude is . It means much more than and (although we certainly need to hear those magic words as well!) In essence, it means recognizing that even when we lack something, there is an endless amount of good that is ours already. Our responsibility is to wean ourselves from feeling entitled to all the blessings of life and see them for the gifts they really are. Not an easy task in a culture that pushes us toward greater and greater dissatisfaction with what we have and a profound confusion between our wants and needs, and makes raising grateful children feel like walking up a down escalator.
So, just how do parents raise grateful children? I’m not an expert on gratitude, but I am sure that appreciation is not taught with a single, mind-changing lesson. Rather, the lessons are in the every day. And it isn’t just about teaching appreciation for things. Appreciating experiences and other people are important too.Â Here are 11 ways to raise a grateful child.