It is quite common to have ungrateful children at different points of the year. To make you feel better about your family life, here are some truths about ungrateful children that you need to hear.
You ever see kids grabbing greedily for the last cookie so their sister doesn’t get it – kids snatching the goodies offered by adults and scampering away without saying thank you – kids throwing a tantrum because you wouldn’t hand over your phone – kids complaining that they don’t have anything to play with while standing on a literal pile of toys…It’s insane!
“What is going on?” What did I do to end up with such ungrateful children?”
It isn’t your fault that this has happened. I know it’s difficult to remember that while you’re having the same disagreement with your child for the 50th time, but it occurs to every child, everywhere.
It might be beneficial to consider the following facts:
People Don’t like to Talk about Their Kids’ Ungrateful Moments
Part of the reason we as parents take this behavior so personally is that we believe we are the only ones coping with it.
However, if you have an honest chat with any of your mom’s friends, she will spill her guts about how she is dealing with the same difficulties you are.
Other parents may have ungrateful children as well, but it can be difficult to discuss. I know that I often believe that my children’s behavior is a reflection of my parenting, and this could be a difficult idea to overcome. It’s simple to talk about your parenting triumphs, but discussing your parenting failings puts you in a vulnerable position. See also: How To Find The Positive In Your Parenting.
As a result, just as parents are hesitant to flaunt a terrible report card, most parents are unlikely to share their experiences of shame at their children’s behavior. And because you never hear anybody else talk about these issues, you tend to believe that you are the only one who is experiencing them.
You are not, believe me.
It’s A Long Phase
When you were a new mom pacing your darkened living room with a colicky infant, your friends and relatives undoubtedly attempted to console you by saying, “It’s just a phase.”
They were correct, it turns out. Babies waking up in the middle of the night are a phase, toddlers putting everything in their mouths are a phase, the terrible twos are a period… Yes, ungratefulness is a phase as well.
It just so happens to be a very long one.
How long will it take? According to one research, “kids” (adults actually) at college came to realize the significance of their parents’ responsibilities in their lives, and could really comprehend the sacrifice and hard work that went into raising them.
So…. it lasts for a while.
But there is some good news! Gratitude could be taught to children in stages. If you focus on something simple but achievable, such as saying “thank you” whenever a kid receives anything, they might begin to absorb a sense of gratitude. You can bet that if you keep working on it and model real appreciation for yourself, you will raise a grateful child.
Being Self-Centered Is a Necessary Trait for Children
Because our schools, neighbourhoods, and society place so much importance on kindness and politeness, it could be quite discouraging to have a child who does not naturally show these traits.
However, it turns out that society could be expecting too much of a young child. Now, I’m not suggesting we’re all destined to dealing with plain rudeness, nor am I saying you shouldn’t punish inappropriate behavior. What I mean is that if your child acts selfishly or struggles to understand that other people have feelings, there is a valid explanation for it.
If children never separate from their families, they will never discover who they actually are. It is normal for children to continually explore and then test the limits. It is natural for children to discover and then express that they do not always like the same things that you like (or that they truly like things that you do not).
There is so much to see and do in the world, and much of it is new to your child. They must concentrate on themselves in order to figure out how they feel about everything.
Keep in mind that our children’s brains aren’t fully formed yet. Asking a child to not only recognize the sentiments of others but also to respond correctly to them, is a big cognitive jump that children just need time to complete.
If You Are Dealing With An Ungrateful Child
It’s a phase! It won’t last forever.
It is critical to understand why children are ungrateful so that we may make changes.
Gratitude is generally understood by children between the ages of four and six. Aside from growth, there are additional reasons why children may continue to beg for more, fail to say thank you, fail to recognize the positive or exhibit an ungrateful attitude when something wonderful is given or done for them.
When you were new parents and you were battling night feedings all by yourself and you were so stressed out, did you hear your friends and family tell you it’s just a phase? Did it make you feel better? No. It probably didn’t. But was it just a phase? Yes, yes it was.
You will battle many phases while you watch your children grow and ungratefulness is just one of those things. The total bummer is that this phase may last a little longer than the newborn night feeds and the toddler’s sneakiness. Sometimes this phase can last until early adulthood.
When children finally begin to realize just how much their parents do for them and begin to feel thankful for everything, then they have grown out of this phase.
Concentrating on the small wins such as encouraging thank you and please phrases in daily conversation can help get through the ungrateful phase faster. When you model gratefulness, your children can pick that up and begin to practice it themselves, without even thinking.
Standing your ground is also a great thing you can do. Kids can keep any conversation going forever, including arguments. When you give up on an argument, they win. Unfortunately, arguing with children is pointless and you really have to pick your battles, so sometimes you don’t have a choice but to back out and “let them win”.
If the matter is important, then you should not back out, no matter what. Play it cool and keep your calm, even in front of a very emotional child.
Most importantly we need to model gratitude and gratefulness day in and day out. We need to say thank you and we need to let them know that we notice they overcame a struggle.
It’s a hard journey and not every parent is going to get it right every single time. I don’t. And that’s ok. But trying to model gratefulness is good for you and for your child so you should do it.
Truths About Ungrateful Children Bottom Line
I’ve said it before, but I’d want to emphasize it one again. Not only to other adults, but also to children, we must model gratitude and thankfulness. We must thank our children, recognize them when they have accomplished something tough, and praise them when they have gone out of their way to be kind.
Even if we adults display ungratefulness in subtle ways, children can detect it. Every time we wish we had a bigger house or a nicer automobile, or rush out to buy the latest smartphone or purse, we’re teaching our children that it’s alright to ignore what you currently have.
It’s difficult, and no one can expect to get it perfectly every time. Lean on friends and family for support, and be honest about your challenges — not just for the sake of your child, but for your own.