Thoughts on Teaching Kids Gratitude

Big Girl Toes with New Hello Kitty Sandals

Oh, and I bought her new shoes too.

This weekend is Girls Weekend, an annual event that coincides with Boys Weekend, where my husband and son go camping with friends. This is our chance to shake things up by spending one-on-one time with the kids. (We also switch it up with Daddy-Daughter, Mommy-Son weekends earlier in the year.)

I made an extra effort for Girls Weekend this year. Manicures, pedicures, parades, special lunches, special dinners, frozen yogurt, smoothies, pottery painting… and the list goes on. And it’s been quite the event, if I say so myself.

But the problem is, at the moment, I am the one saying so myself. You see, the one thing I have not been able to produce is swim time at a local pool. This is not because I haven’t tried. One pool is down for construction, and the other’s schedule just didn’t work out today.

So my darling daughter is not focused on the past 36 hours of non-stop fun. Nope. She’s whining because she didn’t get to go to the pool this afternoon.

I know she is only five, but this is seriously ticking me off.

And it also touches a nerve because I feel like saying, “Really? I just spent $53 at the pottery place, but the whole weekend is ruined because I can’t squeeze in a trip to the damn pool?”

One of my current parenting issues is teaching my children the concept of gratitude. It became clear to me early on that my kids get a great deal of stuff, so much stuff that they can’t even use it all. And all that stuff worries me on another level, because I feel like it clouds their ability to appreciate what they have.

I realized this weekend that the same philosophy applies to experiences as well. For 36 hours, I said, “Yes,” to everything she wanted, from pottery painting to a smoothie at the farmer’s market. When I couldn’t say “Yes” to one thing, she lost it.

I am a victim of my own plan.

After calming down and thinking about it for awhile, I realized to feel gratitude, a child must understand what it is like to go without something. Which means if you give him/her everything he/she wants, they never have the opportunity.

Which means I need to rethink my “special treat” strategy for next year. Because I shot myself in the foot with the 36-hour Speical Extravaganza.

And I now see that saying “No” to things makes saying “Yes” sweeter when you can.

This entry was posted in It's My Life, Things You Won't Find in Parenting Books. Bookmark the permalink.

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