web analytics
March 3, 2015 / 12 Adar , 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Great Gratitude: Parenting Thankful Children

Schonfeld-logo1

Be thankful that you don’t already have everything you desire,
If you did, what would there be to look forward to?

Be thankful when you don’t know something
For it gives you the opportunity to learn.

Be thankful for the difficult times.
During those times you grow.

Be thankful for your limitations
Because they give you opportunities for improvement.

Be thankful for each new challenge
Because it will build your strength and character.

Be thankful for your mistakes
They will teach you valuable lessons.

Be thankful when you’re tired and weary
Because it means you’ve made a difference.

It is easy to be thankful for the good things.
A life of rich fulfillment comes to those who are also thankful for the setbacks.

GRATITUDE can turn a negative into a positive.
Find a way to be thankful for your troubles and they can become your blessings.

Author Unknown

The poem above illustrates an important concept – that gratitude or thankfulness can change our lives in many positive ways. Research shows that children can learn to say “please” and “thank you” from the age of eighteen months; however, true gratitude and appreciation takes time to grow and blossom. Experts say that parents can feel successful if they raise adults who embody the grateful spirit. And, gratitude is more than just saying “please” and “thank you.” In fact, recent studies show that grateful people are happier, more resilient, and less depressed. They also have higher self-esteem and better relationships. It is a way of life, and a positive legacy to leave our children.

How can we raise children who will eventually appreciate the positive things that life has to offer? While, of course, it is nice to think that thankfulness should come naturally to children, sometimes it does not work that way. Therefore, below, I have compiled a few tips that may help you gear your children towards the path of gratitude.

Set boundaries. Whether going into a supermarket, toy store or hardware store, explain to your child the purpose of your visit. Will you only be going in to get milk or is he allowed to pick out a snack of his choice? When children understand what to expect, they learn to appreciate the objects they receive. Conversely, if you tell your son that you are only going into the store for milk, but when he whines and screams, you buy him the bag of potato chips that he wants, you are teaching him that the payoff for whining and screaming is a gift. No true gratitude can grow from parents “giving in” to negative behavior.

Give and get. If your child has a growing list of all of the items he wants, let him know that he needs to come up with an equally long list of items that he wants to give. The items can be washing dishes, giving toys to tzedakah, or help a younger sibling with homework. This will help your child understand that material objects do not simply appear when he requests them. Rather, you work hard to be able to provide them for him. Accordingly, he will feel a sense of accomplishment when he earns the items he wants. This sets the wheels in motion for gratitude as he gets older.

Model gratitude. Your child is always watching you, even if you don’t notice. If you model gratitude, by saying “thank you” to the clerk in the grocery store and the car service driver, you are teaching him the proper way to act. In addition, when someone is particularly nice to you, after thanking him or her, you can point out the behavior to your child, “Wasn’t that man so helpful? He picked up all of the groceries that fell out of the bag.” Expressing gratitude yourself helps your child learn to feel it himself.

Volunteer. Perhaps the best way to get your child to feel grateful is to expose him to people from all different walks of life. Take him to a soup kitchen or get involved in bikur cholim. Not only will you be doing a mitzvah, you will both be growing as people. As your child develops, he will notice how much he has and learn to appreciate the wonderful things in his life.

Create gratitude journals. Dr. Michael McCullough, a professor of psychology and religious studies at the University of Miami, conducted a study in which he asked his subjects to write down four or five things that they were grateful for each day. In only two weeks, most subjects reported feeling happier. This study clearly underlines the idea that gratitude can be taught – simply and quickly.

Be a broken record. Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself and ask your child to say, “PLEASE may I be excused from the table” or “PLEASE pass the ketchup.” Remind your children consistently to say “thank you” to you and to others when they receive gifts. This helps them understand that other people are doing something for them. With constant reminders, the phrasing will come naturally – and so will the gratitude.

Talk about tefillah. As Jewish people, we have a built in daily mechanism for expressing gratitude – prayer. Explain to your children that tefillah itself is a great way to say thank you to Hakodosh Baruch Hu for all the wonderful things in their lives.

Albert Einstein once said, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” Living your life with gratitude means that you don’t take for granted every time something good happens. Rather, you experience each new positive development in your life as a windfall – a new reason to say thank you.

About the Author: An acclaimed educator and education consultant, Mrs. Rifka Schonfeld has served the Jewish community for close to thirty years. She founded and directs the widely acclaimed educational program, SOS, servicing all grade levels in secular as well as Hebrew studies. A kriah and reading specialist, she has given dynamic workshops and has set up reading labs in many schools. In addition, she offers evaluations G.E.D. preparation,, social skills training and shidduch coaching, focusing on building self-esteem and self-awareness. She can be reached at 718-382-5437 or at rifkaschonfeld@verizon.net. Visit her on the web at rifkaschonfeldsos.com.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Great Gratitude: Parenting Thankful Children”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addresses a joint session of the US Congress on March 3, 2015.
‘Alliance Between Israel & US Must Always Remain Above Politics’
Latest Sections Stories
Yarden Merlot

Bottles of wine accompany the Pesach storytelling – each glass of wine represents the four expressions used by G-d in describing the redemption of the Jewish people from Egypt.

Schonfeld-logo1

There is a point that many parenting books miss: children do more for us than we do for them.

Brigitte Gabriel

Brigitte was a nine-year-old girl when Islamic militants launched an assault on a Lebanese military base and destroyed her home.

The husband needs to make some changes!

Purim is a fantastic time for fantasies, so I hope you won’t mind my fantasizing about how easy life would be if kids would prefer healthy cuisine over sweets. Imagine waking up to the call of “Mommy, when will my oatmeal be ready?”… As you rush to ladle out the hot unsweetened cereal, you rub […]

‘Double Gold’ awarded to 2012 Yarden Heights wine & 2011 Yarden Merlot Kela Single Vineyard.

One should not give the money before Purim morning or after sunset.

The mishloach manos of times gone by were sometimes simple and sometimes elaborate, but the main focus was on the preparation of the delicious food they contained.

One of the earliest special Purims we have on record was celebrated by the Jews of Granada and Shmuel HaNagid, the eleventh-century rav, poet, soldier and statesman, and one of the most influential Jews in Muslim Spain.

Jews, wake up! Stop educating the world and start educating yourselves.

The lessons conform to the sensitivities and needs of the Orthodox community…

The program took on special significance as it marked not only the first anniversary of Rebbetzin Kudan’s levayah but also the 27th yahrzeit of Rebbetzin Chaya Mushka Schneerson, a”h.

It was only in the reign of George III (1760-1820) that Jews became socially acceptable in Britain, and Nathan became music master to Princess Charlotte and musical librarian to King George IV.

It captures the love of the Jewish soul as only Shlomo Hamelech could portray it – and as only Rabbi Miller could explain it.

More Articles from Rifka Schonfeld
Schonfeld-logo1

There is a point that many parenting books miss: children do more for us than we do for them.

Schonfeld-logo1

Tutor. Counselor. The doctor too,
Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with you.

Pioneering authors Peg Dawson and Richard Guare, in their book Executive Skills in Children and Adolescents, outline the ways that we employ executive skills regularly.

Because I get phone calls about this all the time, I have put together a quick “cheat sheet” with milestones for reading, writing, and math from first grade through high school.

The reason behind this is that when we ask our brains and bodies to make drastic changes, our fight or flight response kicks in and we become paralyzed.

Why is there such a steep learning curve for teachers? And what can we, as educators and community activists, do better in the educational system and keep first-year teachers in the job?

With so many new cases of ADHD reported each year, it is important to help children learn how to sit still.

While encouraging your child to take responsibility for bed-wetting (like asking him to change the sheets), remember that it is important not to get angry or make him feel guilty.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/family/parenting-our-children/great-gratitude-parenting-thankful-children/2013/06/06/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: