Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and many of us are counting our blessings and pausing to appreciate what's really important in life. But are we raising our kids to be thankful, as well?
Studies have shown that grateful kids are not only happier kids, but are also more likely to have higher grades, more friends and more life satisfaction than their materialistic counterparts.
They're also less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, have behavior problems at school or suffer from depression.
So it's no wonder parents are wondering how to make their kids more thankful.
According to the experts, encouraging "please" and "thank you" is a great place to start, but true gratitude – and the empathy and compassion that comes with it – is a long-term process and requires real effort on the part of parents.
An ounce of prevention
Although it's difficult to say no in a culture that celebrates consumerism and all things new and shiny, that's exactly what's necessary. It's hard to teach thankfulness to kids if they get everything they ask for.
So if you're serious about raising grateful kids you'll have to say no even when it seems easier – and maybe more fun – to say yes.
One clever psychologist suggests having "look days" and "buy days."
Before you head out for the day's activities, let your kids know that it's just a "look day." Maybe you'll see trees at the park, or toys in the store or souvenirs at the museum, but today you're just looking and enjoying. Other days can be "buy days," when you purchase things. Of course, more days should be "look days" than "buy days."
Think of saying "no" to new materials things as saying "yes" to appreciating what you already have.
To avoid an unreasonable amount of gifts and materials things at holiday time, consider Secret Santa exchanges where everyone receives one or two special items. If you can't avoid the deluge of gifts, be sure to keep the focus on celebrating and spending time with friends and family rathe…Read more...