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What Parent Doesn’t Want Their Child to Be Grateful?

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Boys Town Contributor, Mother of seven-year-old daughter and five-year-old son

What Parent Doesn’t Want Their Child to Be Grateful?

Teachable moments can come from a wide variety of sources, including other parents. From time to time parents write blogs for us that we think you will find interesting, useful, or entertaining. Please enjoy this post from a fellow parent.

What parent doesn’t want their child to be grateful? From a very young age, we have taught our children their please and thank you’s, before they could speak they were signing the words. We wanted our kids to have manners and appreciation. I have two stories to share, both involve my seven-year-old daughter, one was a moment of extreme pride and one was of extreme embarrassment.

Let’s start with embarrassment. This last year we were at a school friend’s birthday party and they were about to serve dessert, chocolate cake. My daughter is a little out of the norm in this department as she doesn’t like cake; she is more of an ice cream lover. So, when the little girls dad offered my daughter cake with her nose in the air she rudely and with disgust said “no!” I was mortified, but also very thankful that I happened to be there to witness the moment so that I could address it. I pulled her aside and explained to her how rude her behavior was, I asked her what would have been a better response. Luckily she knew that she should have said “no thank you” instead.

I do believe sometimes kids can get caught up in being kids and don’t fully understand what their words and actions really mean, but I also think you should not let them get away with it. Before we left I made her apologize to the father and to thank him, his wife and their daughter for the invitation to the party. And now before every birthday party I ask my daughter what she needs to say if she doesn’t like a certain food offered so that she is reminded and prepared what is appropriate.

Now for my major mom pride moment – I love to host parties, especially at our home. So, every year for our kids birthdays we invite family and friends over to celebrate, and as our families continue to grow we now have close to 40 people in attendance. We do the typical dinner, play and opening of gifts. Usually, the kids open their gifts and while they say thank you they are usually a little embarrassed about it, looking down and often quick to open the next gift. This year I was shocked at how grown up, polite and gracious my daughter was. She took the time to read each card, as each gift was opened she showed genuine excitement and appreciation, she looked around the crowd to find the gift giver, looked them in the eye and told them thank you. I was so impressed with her and so very proud of her.

While kids may not always remember to say thank you or show appreciation, I think it is such a valuable thing to teach them from a very young age. And to continue to teach them as they grow up. Remember to teach them how to be grateful for what they do receive, but also show them ways to give back.

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