Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Raising Grateful Kids

Let me start by saying this: I adore my kids, but I'm not a PTA queen, whip-up-a-gluten-free meal, Super Mom type. I don't understand Pokemon, and yes, I get bored of watching Paw Patrol for the 500th time. So it's not like I'm expecting a medal or a ticker-tape parade for making lunches, kissing boo-boos and finding missing stuffed animals.

But is it too much to ask for a little gratitude?

My kids are still relatively small, so perhaps my expectations are too high. But it's starting to worry me: what they perceive as "normal".

It's the little things. When I buy them clothes and instead of, "Thanks, Mom!", I get "But I don't like that colour."

When they talk about going on a cruise with the same casualness as going to the grocery store.

When they immediately expect to be able to participate in any activity they wish - from dancing, to art class, to skiing, to whatever else their little hearts desire.

I feel like our generation of parents has raised the parenting bar - as our parents did with us - and that dynamic is particularly obvious in my middle-class, suburban sphere. These are the sorts of kids who eat peanut-free organic food; who routinely go on ski trips and luxury vacations; who participate in so many after-school (and weekend) activities, it makes everyone's head spin. 

And sometimes, it's all a bit much. For example, my six-year-old is in competitive dance, and we recently got the list of makeup she "needs" for her competitions: $200 worth of Mac products! My makeup isn't worth that much, and I wear it every day.

Of course, I want to give my kids every advantage I can (and can afford). But I really don't want to wind up with spoiled or entitled kids.

So how do I walk the line between letting them enjoy the childish freedom of not having to worry about money and making sure they know how lucky they are to have the advantages they do? How can I get them to say "Thank you - I love it!" for the green sweater, even if they really wanted a pink one? 

And here's the real challenge: how do I teach them to appreciate what they have - when, as an adult, I sometimes don't do that myself?

That's the nut I haven't been able to crack. But once I figure it out, I'll be tremendously grateful.

No comments: