Friday Four:Thanksgiving strategies for gratitude

Thanks Giving  as always is a great time to focus on being thankful. As the parents of 7 adolescents, my husband, Rag, and I generally alternate between pride and dismay at their behavior. Mostly we get to see the good stuff, I’m glad to say. But lately the scales have begun to tip toward disappointment in one area. Amen, 3 and TeHun, 2, seem to appreciate the big things we give them . But their day-to-day comments have started sounding increasingly demanding and — I hate to say it — entitled:

“Mom, I need my juice!

“Ewww, that looks disgu

sting. I’m not eating it.”

“I’m not going. You can’t make me.”

“NO! NO! Leave me alone!”

On the other hand, these might just be the lines of the treble two’s and his natural desire to test his ring pass not.

Adolescence on the other hand are certainly a crazy time for both parents and teenagers. But it doesn’t have to be unpleasant.

I don’t expect my younger sons to be selfless saints, but I’d like to see my daughters and older son to understand how fortunate they are and to recognize the contributions that other people (including Rag) make to their lives. We already say grace, albeit speedily, before meals. 

But  I’ve also been reminded that some gratitude interventions—practices that researchers design to increase gratitude in individuals—don’t always work for everyone.  In fact, several prominent gratitude studies have shown that for some people, consciously practicing gratitude (in certain prescribed ways) actually doesn’t make them feel more grateful. But I’ll venture forth to say that I want mine to practice it regularly.

If you have been imparting good values to your children they will stay with him for the rest of his life.  During adolescence, “(they) may have put them (your values) in cold storage……..but they’re there and they will reappear in time”..no worries for you. 

Children need to see us being grateful for what we have. Tell them, “I am so grateful to have you in my life.” If that is too corny for you, you can say, (when they come home from school), “It is good to see you.”Here are a few more tips that we use to teach our children the value of  gratefulness:

  • Let them see you saying thank you to the postman, the store clerk, and your friends.
  • Let them see you and your spouse thank each other. Thank your spouse for making dinner, for taking out the garbage, cleaning a clogged drain or for making the phone call to Aunt Ethel, something you really didn’t want to do.
  • Don’t complain about all the things you don’t have.
  • Enjoy the beauty around you and point it out to your children. Sunsets, the sun shining on the snow, laughing babies and blossoming trees.

Check out Madea’s best parenting clip.  (You’ll LOVE It!)                 Till next time! -QC Supermom

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