I am sure if you have not said this yourself, you must have heard someone else say it before. Parenting and raising emotionally resilient and grateful children are more of a challenge today than ever before.
What are the struggles? A few that stand out - parenting in a digital world where the kids are connected to phone or iPad screens for hours, multiple activities, our demanding schedules, limited social support or resources. To "survive" all of that, through small day to day parenting decisions, our parenting style may evolve either into enabling or rescuing, known by some as lawn-moving or helicoptering or some other way of parenting which builds into the entitlement epidemic over time.
How many times have you given into your whining child to keep the peace? How many times have you had to remind them to pick up their laundry, make their bed, brush their teeth? Have you gone and rescued them time and time again after they forget stuff at home? Are you feeling drained, exhausted from doing the same thing over and over, and not seeing the seeds of appreciation on a horizon?
If so - take a deep breath, a DEEP BREATH and forgive yourself. We all have done it one time or the other, and the struggles are real. Looking back with regret will not change the "now." However, if you are still reading, that means you are interested in making some changes.
Through our many blogs, we have established the benefits of gratitude on our well-being and success. We have presented the research studies which well-documented practicing gratitude makes us happier, more connected, motivated, improves our sleep and makes us less depressed and anxious.
Gratitude has been shown to improve our productivity, engagement and strengthen our connections.
While there is limited research on the study of gratitude and well-being in children as compared to the adults, the studies that we have show grateful children are happier, more engaged, do better in school and are less depressed.
For any parent struggling with a child who is anxious and depressed, this may be a powerful tool to use. It has no side effects, and it works.
So how do our children and youth experience gratitude and how can you as a parent bring gratitude awareness to their lives?
Just like the entitlement, the seeds of gratitude and appreciation are sown over time, in the small day to day moments.
No matter where you are now, you can start with a few small steps to bring more gratitude awareness. It is those small decisions which with time will create a ripple to tidal effect.
In the next blog series, we will be sharing specific steps you can start doing right now with your kids and your family to bring gratitude awareness. Our focus will be on particular gratitude practices across the ages from pre-schoolers to teens and older.
We would love to hear from you. - please comment and share what has made a difference to you in your childhood in building appreciation and awareness of gratitude.
To you and the alchemy of gratitude,