A couple of weeks ago, I took my two young children to Round Table for a fun end of season soccer party. They both played at least $20 worth of arcade games, ate gooey pizza, played with friends, and finished off the night with certificates and cupcakes. As we were walking to my car, my 8 year old remembered we had parked next Baskin Robbins and asked for ice cream. My initial response was she had to be joking! Then my 4 year old son started to whine and ask for ice cream. My husband and I tried to laugh it off, telling them “no way!” The kids then ramped it up into an all out protest, chanting “No Fair! No Fair! We want ice cream!”
I began to get angry. Mostly with myself – where did we as parents go wrong? How did my children end up so spoiled? How could they be so ungrateful? Obviously, I know I’m not alone in this feeling as I’ve heard so many parents express frustration like mine. I realized I need to go back to basics with my kids:
- Model – Have your child catch you showing appreciation and gratitude to your spouse, friends, co-workers, and to them! Simple examples like “Thanks so much for putting your dish in the sink.” Or write a note of thanks; “Thank you for getting in the car so early today so that we can get to school on time.”
- Observe – Notice others. Discuss with your child that not everyone gets what they want and how we take disappointment while still being grateful for all we do have. “Wow, that man was really upset in line, and it was long! He probably wanted to be first. Thankfully, he has his phone to keep him occupied.”
- Volunteer – Nothing shows us all we have until we meet someone who doesn’t. I took my 8 year old to the Food Bank to sort fruit and we used this as a way to talk about how many people cannot afford fresh fruit or other things we take for granted like hot water, shelter, or families to support them.
I know we here at Walnut Acres Children’s Center are so grateful for all of our caring families and children who make us smile each day. Have a beautiful Season of Thanks!