How is your teen when it comes to being grateful? Have the days of automatic “please” and “thank you” tags passed? Many teens are so involved with their personal spheres that gratitude isn’t on their radar. November is a good month to refocus them.
When we think of Thanksgiving, we think of gratitude. A Harvard report lists many benefits of feeling grateful: Gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve their health, deal with adversity, and build strong relationships. We would welcome these results for our teens and selves.
How about fostering gratitude as a family by:
1) Logging into kindspring.org as a family and joining the gratitude challenge? The daily email will give you a gratitude-related thought to think over. This could be a good dinner time activity.
2) Starting an “I am grateful for…” list on your refrigerator? Before opening the fridge, the family member must add a post-it listing one thing s/he is grateful for. Soon, if your teens are as hungry as mine, you will have a rainbow of positive post-its brightening your kitchen.
3) Requesting one “I am grateful for ____” statement from your teen before honoring any request (for car keys, allowance, etc). Be sure you model by responding with a gratitude statement yourself.
4) Watching a Zig Ziglar (former gratitude-propelled speaker) YouTube with your teen.
5) Jotting a “thank you” email with your teen to a person for whom you both are thankful. Is there a librarian who was an excellent resource? A neighbor who rescued your teen when she locked herself out of the house? Send out a thank you.
An attitude of gratitude improves our moods and lives. It is wonderfully contagious. Help your family spread gratitude this Thanksgiving season!