In the spirit of Thanksgiving and with the end of the year around the corner, I thought now would be a good time to focus on another TTV -Gratitude – what it really is and why is it important for our children and us, to practice it?
Beyond showing good manners or simply being thankful and appreciative, gratitude is a mindset, a lifestyle – it’s an attitude that yields immense benefits. A study conducted by Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, reveals that cultivating gratitude can increase happiness levels by around 25 percent. It can also cause individuals to live happier, more satisfied lives and enjoy increased levels of self-esteem, hope, empathy and optimism. Other studies have shown that children who practice gratefulness have more positive attitudes toward school, family and enjoy stronger, more genuine relationships.
One way we can help our children develop an attitude of gratitude is for us to be grateful parents. We have numerous opportunities every day to model gratitude – for example, thanking those who take care of our children while we’re out earning a living; thanking the teachers who teach our children; thanking our children for the joys they bring us; thanking the waiter who serves us at a restaurant…when our children see us expressing sincere thanks all the time, they’ll be more inclined to do so too.
As humans it’s natural for us to look more often at our glass as half-empty rather than half-full. This is true also when it comes to parenting. We sometimes get so focused on our children’s “faults” – the attitude in their voice; their constant demand for things; how they embarrass us by not saying or doing the proper things especially when other people are around; that in our bid to “fix” them, we forget to be grateful for all the wonderful moments and the experience of parenting. In the words of Glennon Doyle Melton, who blogs at Momastery “Don’t let yourself become so concerned with raising a good kid, that you forget you already have one.”
If you’re like me you probably tell your children very often how much you love them and how special they are (if not – what are you waiting for?) But I’m talking about taking it a bit deeper and letting our children know we are grateful to have them. You would be amazed at the boost it would give their self-esteem to know that we not only love them simply because we’re their parents and we don’t have a choice but because we actually notice and appreciate the value they bring to the family. Once we can get ourselves to look beyond their quirks, we really are blessed with amazing children so let’s be truly grateful for who they are.
In case you’re not too sure how to start, here are a few phrases to set the ball rolling…
- I’m grateful to have you as my son / daughter
- Thank you for the things you unknowingly teach me about myself
- I’m grateful for the time you spend with me
- I’m thankful that you choose to come to me when you have questions
- Thank you for the message you sent me (even if it’s just a smiley face)
- Thank you for making us laugh and making our home fun
- Thank you for warming my heart with your amazing smile
The ball is in your court…let’s go show some gratitude attitude!
We invite you to follow our blog www.parentinvestment.com, it’s a great platform to get “gingered” and interact with other parents. Invite your friends, and let’s join hands to make the necessary parenting investments that would continue to yield positive returns in our children’s lives.