Parental Gratitude

By Danny Huerta

Gratitude rescues us from the trap of negative thinking and helps us enjoy life more. Learn how gratitude is one of the seven traits of effective parenting.

Do you believe that grateful people are actually healthier people? Researchers have consistently found that grateful people tend to be happier, healthier, more optimistic and less stressed when life gets challenging. 

It’s refreshing when someone expresses genuine gratitude. It creates a sense of connection and peace. And parents who practice demonstrating gratitude to their children reap these same benefits.

Like most parents, I don’t have a perfect track record in this trait, but I strive to include gratitude in family interactions whenever I can. My children’s faces light up when I tell them I am grateful for them, when I’m thankful for a contribution they made to our family. In the morning, if my daughter is dreading something about the school day, I try to shift her focus by talking about something about her that I appreciate. Gratitude rescues us from the trap of negative thinking.

Here are some benefits children receive when their parents practice gratitude:

Attitude

Genuine gratitude teaches children to be respectful and humble. They are less entitled and more able to recognise the truth that their lives are filled with gifts, blessings and privileges.

Peacefulness

Children learn to be happy with what they have rather than being thirsty for the next thing or moment. Peacefulness is a full-time constant. Of course, children are still children. But an environment of gratitude is able to bring them back to peace.

Perspective

Children learn how to pay attention to what they have rather than what they don’t have. James Oppenheim famously said, “A foolish man seeks happiness in the distance. The wise grows it under his feet.”

Flexibility

Gratitude gives children room to see the good in the bad. It provides enough flexibility for children to allow for the possibility of something good coming out of something bad. It allows children to see difficult circumstances as opportunities to grow, rather than horrible problems that must be avoided. Gratitude is truly an attitude—and that is what makes it easy and difficult all at the same time. It’s a bit like exercising: beneficial yet difficult—and it truly feels good after you do it.

Copyright © 2017 by Focus on the Family


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