Can You Really Raise Grateful Kids in an Entitled World?

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Entitlement. It’s real. And it leaves many of us parents asking this question:

Can we really raise grateful kids in an entitled world?

According to writer Kristen Welch, the answer is yes. But it takes effort and intentionality.

Can You Really Raise Grateful Kids in an Entitled World?

“If you ask most parents what they want for their kids, they say, ‘I want them to be happy.’ Most might even have the same answer for themselves. Instead of happiness being a by-product of the life we live, it has become an elusive destination,” Kristen argues in her recently-released book “Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life’s Biggest Yes.”

In this latest book, Kristen, a writer and blogger of “We Are That Family,” discusses the struggle of kids feeling more entitled than grateful. She writes, “We live in a culture that is obsessed with the right to have what we want, whether we’ve earned it or not.”

This mother of three believes that this desire to give children happy lives is leading to a generation of spoiled kids. “When we try to protect our kids from unhappiness, we make life down the road harder for them. It can be summed up in one word—entitlement.”

Kristen explains that her book isn’t a guide or a list of what to do and what not to do, or a fail-proof parenting plan. “I bought into the lie that it’s my job to make my kid’s childhood magical and fun, to guarantee that every day will be an adventure all about them,” she writes. But over time, her perspective, focus and parenting changed.

Throughout the book, she offers personal stories and anecdotes of how her family has dealt with entitlement and has taught gratitude instead. Through a Christian perspective, she takes on topics such as wants verses needs, the selfie society and how gratitude is a choice.  She gives practical tips on how to move away from being a child-centered home by cultivating obedience, and setting limits and boundaries. At the end of each chapter, she gives practical advice and action points to help parents implement the tips she discusses in each chapter. She even includes a cell phone contract between parent and child in the appendix of the book.


 

Kristen’s advice to parents doesn’t always make for easy lessons, especially in a society that values happy, easy childhoods. She tells parents:

Let them be unhappy.

“If we fix every problem, cater to every need, and bend over backwards to keep our kids happy all the time, we are setting them up for a false reality because life won’t always offer them the same courtesy. Sometimes professors won’t accept excuses, bosses won’t make allowances, and banks won’t give second chances.”

Teach the importance of effort.

“I think it’s important to teach our kids that the effort they give is related to the outcome they receive.”

Make room for boredom.

“Our children need to be bored. They need to kick their feet and wait outside bathroom doors, unanswered. They need to be sent outside or to their rooms to play. They need to turn over the bag of tricks and find it empty.”

Serve others.

“Underindulgence has led to great joy for our family,” she writes. “Simply put, we have discovered deep satisfaction in serving and loving people other than ourselves.”

Expand their worldview.

“If we see life through only one lens, we believe the misconception that everyone in the world has what we do, and our blessings start looking a lot like expectations.”

Gratitude may not come easily in our selfie-obsessed society of convenience. But as Kristen writes, “Our kids are watching us. And when we feel like we are failing or we don’t know what to do next, the answer is always to get closer to Jesus because when we do, those around us might just inch closer too.”

Have you followed me on Pinterest yet? Also, be sure to find me on Instagram at meaganchurch.

{Please note: I did receive this book for free to review. This is not a sponsored post, though I do receive a portion of each purchase made via the Amazon associate links. Thanks for your support! This article first appeared in The Family Magazine of Michiana.}

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