December 21, 2010

Raising Grateful Children Starts with You

By Vicki Hoefle

As nice as it is to think about having a five-year-old who appreciates and shows gratitude for everything, the truth is, parents can feel successful if they raise a thirty-five-year-old who embodies that grateful spirit.

As with everything that I teach, when people ask me about their children, I always start by looking at the big people in the relationship -- the parents. It is not uncommon, during the holiday season, for parents to find themselves noticing the many ways kids seem ungrateful and for these same parents to wonder what they might do to raise more grateful children.
Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

1. Ask yourself this simple question - Is gratitude really a personal value of mine, or am I being influenced by some outside source, i.e. friends, media, new trend.

2. If you decide that gratitude is an important value in your life, take a few moments and answer these questions:

a. How do I show gratitude in my daily life? Is it in the way I communicate, my actions, my attitude and my decisions?

b. Do I show gratitude no matter what is happening in my life, good, bad or indifferent?

c. Do I interpret the world and my surroundings with a grateful heart or with a sense of dissatisfaction because things didn’t turn out the way I wanted?

d. If I do not embody a grateful spirit, how likely is it that I will raise children with a grateful spirit?

One of the things I challenge parents to do is to consider how they express gratitude for their children.

- Take a look at your life and identify where, when and how you show gratitude to your children. It’s easy to show gratitude when they are kind, participating in the family, following through, contributing and cooperating with each other. It’s not so easy to show gratitude when you are in the muck and mire with your kids.

- Do you look at each situation you are presented with and honestly feel gratitude for being pushed and challenged to be more patient, more loving, more accepting and more forgiving?

- And finally, do you feel a deep sense of gratitude for the honor of raising the unique and miraculous children living in your home today?

If you truly want to live with children who embody a grateful spirit, start with yourself. Take an inventory of your actions, become more aware of how you conduct yourself in relation to your children, write down what you notice about yourself, leverage the difficult times and start by modeling gratitude in your own life.

Vicki Hoefle is the creator of the multi-media Parenting On Track™ Home Program and has 20 years of experience helping thousands of families and raising 5 childrenn herself, She's a master story teller who is part comedian, part sage and mostly parent, Vicki shares ways to strengthen and enhance the parent child relationship. Her approach is designed to bring out the best in each parent, the best in each child and the best in each encounter.


Posted on December 21, 2010 12:24 PM
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