Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gratitude, Not Entitlement

At least that's what I'm hoping to instill in my child. I want her to be grateful for everything - from having her basic needs met, to the snow outside her window. I want her to be grateful and say thank you when we give her something - anything! Even something we would give her no matter what - like food, shelter, etc.

Has anyone else noticed how kids are so entitled now? They expect to have cell phones, unlimited internet access, the newest gadgets/toys, their own room, a car when they get their license...what happened? When I was little everyone I knew shared a room! I didn't get a cell phone till I as 20, and I paid for it myself. And a car - paid for it myself.

Every parent loves their child and wants to give them the world - the problem is some do. How can you give your child good gifts and teach them gratitude?

Example for one. When a child sees their parents display gratitude regularly - it has to sink in. Show your spouse gratitude, thank him/her aloud, in front of the kids for things they would have done anyway. "Thank you for taking out the trash!", "Thanks for going to work to support us, I know it's a sacrifice!"...And more importantly - show your kids gratitude. "Thank you for that hug!", "Thank you for picking up your toys, that makes mommy happy!"

Self-Discipline. Maybe as parents if we show self-restraint when prone to indulging ourselves in the finer things, or whatever we want - and do so outwardly, vocally - then our kids will learn to do the same. "I really want some ice cream, but...we better not spend anymore money today. We have a brownie mix at home we can make instead"...

How are you teaching your child gratitude and not entitlement? Please share! Just something to think about this Thanksgiving Season.


  1. This is interesting to me. Ive always told Josh I wouldn't mind if we never made lots of money cuz i think it would be better for our kids if we didn't. When you have the money to buy your kids whatever they want and whatever you want it is a lot harder NOT to. My family didn't have a lot of money. I alway had jobs that i had to work for for money and by money i mean quarters, not dollars. I think my parents are the greatest example to me of how to raise grateful and not entitled. I don't even know that they did it on purpose, it was just a consequence of our circumstances. I had to buy my first car, cell phone, gas, insurance. Once I turned 16 i was expected to get a job to pay for anything other that food shelter and clothing. And i certainly wasn't wearing $200 jeans like every teenager is these days?! YIKES! I haven't ever really thought about not always indulging in the things we as adults want if we want our kids to learn it. Josh and i have talked numerous times about not giving addison whatever it is she wants, but we aren't so good at the ourselves! I will be talking to him shortly about that point. Thanks Barb. I am very interested to hear others ideas. This phenomenom worries me too. Sorry for the novella.

  2. I agree that it is scary! I would love to say that my little guy isn't going to have any of these things, but we'll see when we get there. I am of the thought that "I didn't have it when you were at that age, so why should you get it." I'm even talking college. Parents that pay for their kids' college tuition is crazy to me. How can they afford it? But then now as I am paying back these crazy student loans, I hope that I can help my kids out, but just not tell them and hope they get scholarships! :)

    This is a great reminder in how we should set an example. Thanks! It's a good reminder in a lot more than just being grateful.

  3. Good post. Teaching gratitude and discipline don't always go hand in hand. My kids are very good about saying thank you. Both of my kids say thank you for multiple things every day, big things and little things. We're good there. However, sometimes I feel like my 5 year old feels "entitled". She expects to regularly visit fun places, only have meals that she is interested in and throws a big tantrum when she doesn't get her way. For months we have been fighting the battle that she needs to pick up her own room. She would rather pout in her room for days than pick it up, even if I'm willing to do it with her. I'm sure a big part of this is that she's 5, but I don't want it to progress into her becoming a spoiled brat. I'm sure we will get through this, but I agree that "gratitude vs entitlement" is an important thing to keep in mind when raising kids.


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