Through my journey of teaching my children to be grateful I read some scientific articles to help wrap my mind around it all. Here are all the things I learned about what causes children to become ungrateful!
While it is natural for all children to have moments of entitlement, if you are like most parents, you do not want your children’s ungrateful attitude to become permanent. However, establishing a thankful heart entails more than simply training your child to say “yes, please” and “thank you.”
If your child acts ungrateful more often than you would want, there are things you can do to help your child. You could be wondering how to teach an unappreciative child a lesson. Here are some positive parentingtips to help your kiddo learn to be more appreciative.
Developing a grateful attitude in children’s entails assisting them in viewing their circumstances from a standpoint of appreciation rather than lack and eliminates the sense of entitlement.
What causes children to get these feelings of entitlement?
What It Means When I Say Ungrateful Child
When I use the term ungrateful, I am referring to the fact that someone is showing us disrespect in the way of not saying thank you or showing that they are thankful.
If you describe someone as ungrateful, you are criticizing them for not showing thanks or for being unkind to someone who has helped them or done them a favour
When we come across someone who seems unappreciative, it is often a trigger for us to lecture them and tell them just how good they have things right now.
When our children seem ungrateful, we often refer to other children who have less than they do and sometimes even refer to countries that have fewer privileges than we do. It’s a trigger reaction and response.
But is this an effective method, and does it REALLY matter if our children show gratitude or not?
YES, it does!
Raising grateful kids helps us raise kids who have good manners and create a connective attitude.
A connective attitude is one where children can show full appreciation when given a gift and are able to show this gratitude in a meaningful and thankful way.
Being thankful increases happiness and even focus and determination! It can give us a boost in energy and enthusiasm too.
Gratitude matters, a lot.
Gratitude is not about comparing situations to others who don’t have it as good as ourselves, it is all about being thankful for everything in your own life.
Grateful thinking can be beneficial to our emotional and physical health. It can lift our spirits and put us into a perspective of being so lucky to have all that we have which gives us a certain appreciation for everything in our lives.
When we lose sight of the important things, we can become spoiled and rotten, even as adults. Ungratefulness doesn’t just run in children, it can run through all of us.
It’s important to look at all the reasons why our children could be showing signs of ungratefulness so that we may take the time to instill gratitude within them and improve their overall well-being.
See also: Truths About Ungrateful Children
Reasons Children Are Ungrateful
Before we can instill a thankful mindset within our kids, it is important to understand why they may seem ungrateful in the first place.
It is important to understand that children may not understand gratitude until the age of 4, so if your child is still young, it may not quite be time to teach gratefulness to them yet.
We Give In To All Their Demands
When we give our children everything they want, we give them a sense of entitlement. They aren’t working towards goals and aren’t actually earning anything through hard work and determination.
When things are handed to you on a silver platter, what is the incentive to work hard?
There is a parenting book out there called The Me, Me, Me Epidemic where this parenting expert Any McCrady from Positive Parenting Solutions goes over how over-parenting and over-pampering is hurting our children making our parenting lives more difficult.
We all want to make our kids happy, and sometimes that leads to accidentally taking down all their obstacles just to make sure they never fail.
Failure is a good thing for kids though, so they need to experience it. We learn from making mistakes, and if we never fail, we don’t make the mistakes.
The lesson here is, don’t give in to all the demands and guide your children through difficult situations instead of taking it away from them and not letting them experience that failure.
We Don’t Provide Enough Exposure To Less Fortunate Situations
If our children do not have anything to compare their lives to, they may never know what it could be like for someone who is less fortunate than them.
I know this is sort of like saying you should be grateful for what you have because there are less fortunate people out there and than spew out some examples.
But if you can show your child that there are in fact others who do not have as much as they do, then they will start to understand, because they can physically see the less fortunate.
We must also always tell our children that those who have less than them are not any less of a person than anyone else out there. We are all equal and possessions do not make us who we are.
These are lessons I’ve been teaching my kids since age 4, and while the youngest, who is still 4, doesn’t quite understand, my oldest is very well aware of this fact.
A great way to teach children about less fortunate situations is to take them to volunteer. Show them that they can make a difference to someone with just a little bit of devoted time.
They can see first hand how some people live and then they can really be grateful for all that they have in their lives.
There was a time when my 6-year-old was complaining that our house wasn’t new and shiny as some of the mansions he saw on TV, and he was asking why we (the parents) did not make enough money to afford a mansion like those.
After a few discussions, it became very clear to him that it doesn’t matter if we live in a mansion or an old home like ours if it is filled with love and family that matters so much more than glamour and extraordinary living.
Sometimes Gifts Are Expected So The Reaction Isn’t As Big As We Hope For
When it comes to holidays and birthdays, children expect gifts and therefore do not show the appreciation they would if there was a surprise gift on a random day.
When the gift is expected, the child may feel that gratitude is also a given. Of course, they are super grateful to have a new collection of water guns, but because it was a gift on a special holiday where they were going to receive a gift anyway, the reaction and thankfulness are just not there.
It does not mean that the child is ungrateful, though it may seem that way. It just means that the exchange relationship was defined.
This just means that the emotional impact when receiving a gift that is expected is much smaller than the emotional impact of receiving a gift on a random day for a random reason.
This isn’t just how kids react, adults react this way too!
We can show our children the way by explaining that the reaction for thankfulness should be just as large if the gift is given on a holiday or as a surprise.
Children Want To Feel In Control
Sometimes a children may not show gratefulness simply because they want to be in control of their emotions and they simply don’t want you to know that they are happy.
This happens a lot when children reach the tween/teen stages, and it’s very normal.
The thing is though, there isn’t a whole lot you can do about it other than try to create open lines of communication with your child and not over discipline them so they feel a close connection to you.
In this case, you may not be raising ungrateful children, but there could be some other underlying behavior issues that need to be addressed.
What Causes Children to Become Ungrateful Bottom Line
Not only to other adults, but also to children, we must model gratitude and thankfulness. We must thank our children, recognise 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.
Click the link for information on how to Discipline Ungrateful Children.