One of the most important things parents can do in today’s world is raise grateful children. In a culture of wanting and getting everything on demand, it can be easy to fall into lacking in being grateful.
Parents are granted the task of molding their children into the adults they will become. Parents shape many aspects of the way their kids will think, feel, and behave toward others and about different situations in their environment.
Two aspects that are crucial traits parents should consider instilling in their children are gratitude and kindness. Ultimately, raising children that radiate these traits leads to them being happier, healthier, and more fulfilled adults.
How Do We Raise Grateful Children?
The answer to this question has changed throughout time. In today’s society, it is harder than ever to do so due to the numerous demands that children have on them. Plus, the various forms of negativity they can be exposed to throughout their day.
Media outlets everywhere display a materialistic and selfish mindset that can easily persuade young ones to think in that direction.
In the end however, parents can be the most influential forces, especially early on in their children’s lives.
Lead By Example
Kids are always watching.
In psychology one of the largest studied theories is how observation leads to mimicked behavior.
Albert Bandura, a canadian-american psychologist, in the experiment, revealed that children imitate the aggressive behavior of adults.
Don’t believe it?
In Bandura’s famous Bobo Doll Experiment, participants observed an adult behaving in a violent manner towards a Bobo doll toy. The researchers found that the participant group that had observed an adult behaving violently towards the toy were more likely to act in an aggressive manner towards the dolls themselves when they were given the opportunity.
On the other hand, the children exposed to adults playing with toys appropriately, behaved in a way that matched those models.
Therefore, model kind behavior and watch kindness blossom in your child.
Be Kind To Your Child
This modeled behavior needs to start with directing this kind of behavior toward them.
From the beginning, children can be difficult at times. We speak about being mindful and patient parents, but when it comes down to it, sometimes you just want to scream.
Take a deep breath before talking to your children. Walk away if you need to before you respond.
If you do raise your voice, apologize and try again. They absorb how you treat them and use this in learning how to treat others down the road.
What better way to show your children how to be grateful than by showing them how great they truly have it.
Help them realize what they should be grateful for and why. While many parents want to give our children everything their heart desires, it is also important to illustrate that these things should not be taken for granted.
Along those same lines, how about taking old toys and such that you have bought for them throughout the years and donating some of it?
It can oftentimes be hard to let things go. BUT, teach your child that the things that they no longer use could be used and loved deeply by another little boy or girl just like them.
Additionally, when celebratory days like birthdays and holidays come up, getting your kids used to donating their unused things to make room for the new things helps prevent them hoarding things as well.
Put Less Value And Emphasis On Material Items
After donating items, it may be beneficial to teach your children that life is filled with joy all around them. And joy isn’t usually brought on by things.
Talk to them about how whenever they feel happy it most likely is when they play outside with their friends or spend quality time with mom and dad.
Teach them that the best parts of life are when you are with people you love rather than things that you like.
Acknowledge Acts Of Kindness Made By Your Children
From the very beginning acknowledge the acts of kindness that your children display. Whether it is something as simple as helping dad with the dishes or sharing a toy with their sister, acknowledging your children with positivity reinforces these kinds of behaviors.
In the end, kids love to make their parents proud. Let your children know that you are proud of what they are doing.
Take a moment every night before bed and talk about the things that you were most grateful for that day.
Always make sure your kids know that they are one of the many things you are truly grateful for and be receptive to what they are most grateful for.
In doing this, everyone ends their day on a positive note and practicing looking at their day in a positive perspective. If you have older kids, this may look like starting a gratitude journal or reading gratitude books.
Teach Them Empathy
Talking about perspective, it is important to teach our children about seeing things from the perspective of other people. And in doing so, also caring for that person.
Teaching empathy benefits your child in many ways ranging from forming acceptance of others, the creation of stronger relationships, and an overall deeper emotional intelligence.
Therefore, children that practice empathy regularly are more likely to be in tune with their own mental health and live happier lives.
As people grow, they learn from different people and situations how to view and interact with the world around them. We are not born with a positive sense of the world. It is your job as parents to teach and guide your children on what kindness, compassion, love, and gratefulness look like.
In the end, these traits not only benefit those around them but will also aid in making them the best version of themselves they can be.
So parents, make sure to raise grateful children!