I’m reading a great book: “Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World,” by Kristen Welch. It’s a book every parent can most likely relate to. Just a few pages into the introduction, I felt like I was watching my own life. The author points out if you ask most parents what they want for their children, they will tell you they just want their children to be happy. I know without hesitation that would be my response.
But in deeper thought, is what makes our children happy – in the moment – what’s best for them in the long term? As an example, my son would be happy if I gave in to his every request: a new toy, another treat, a later bedtime just this once, and the list goes on. These things would certainly make him happy in the moment, but they might also NOT prepare him for the real world – of inevitable “No’s”. If he comes to expect his every wish – and demand – will be accommodated, I am doing him an injustice.
By instead re-focusing my efforts on making my children grateful; this in turn, I believe, will ultimately lead to his happiness. We must teach our children to be grateful for each of their blessings; to not feel entitled to everything they may want, but rather to be grateful for what they’ve earned. This is certainly the more difficult route of parenting. Saying no can be hard. But the fact is, gratitude begins with us as parents. The author points out that the entitled notion our children instinctively have — “is that all?” — can be addressed with a simple yet powerful response: “Yes, that is all. We don’t need more.”