What is the secret?
How does a parent raise grateful kids in a world of entitlement?
Grateful – adj. feeling or showing an appreciation of kindness; thankful: I’m very grateful to you for all your help.
Entitle – v. [trans.] (usu. be entitled) – give (someone) a legal right or a just claim to receive or do something: employees are normally entitled to severance pay — [trans.] the landlord is entitled to require references.
Entitlement – n. the fact of having a right to something: full entitlement to fees and maintenance should be offered – you should be fully aware of your legal entitlements
Why do I begin with the definitions of these three words when reviewing a book?
These three words are not just part of the book’s title and main focus. They are actual results.
In other words, we either raise grateful kids or kids who always feel entitled. These are the results we get when we choose to nurture and discipline our children, or when we choose not to.
Of course, having stated that, let’s now break down the definition of “nurture” and “discipline”.
Most equate nurture with “lovingkindness” and discipline with “the rod of correction”. However, one cannot really exist without the other.
Nurture – v. [trans.] care for and encourage the growth or development of
Ok. Now, here is the modern definition of discipline:
Discipline – n. the practice of training people to obey rules or a code of behavior, using punishment to correct disobedience: a lack of parental and school discipline.
That’s the definition we all know and love, right? We raise grateful kids with punishment.
I surely didn’t feel grateful receiving punishment as a kid. Even now, I recall a time when my grandmother looked at me after I knew I was in the wrong. She said, “I’m gonna let you punish yourself.”
I felt awful hearing that. I could have handled being grounded or losing privileges.
But letting me know that I was old enough to see I was in the wrong. Therefore, I was old enough to make it right. That for me was true discipline.
Because when we dig deeper, we find that the origin of the word discipline is Old English. Derived from the Latin word discipulus, it means ‘learner’. The root of that word is discere ‘learn’.
Therefore, disciplining someone creates (or causes) learning. Then, we are able to care for and encourage growth.
We have helped them learn (discipline) and grow (nurture).
How to Raise Grateful Kids
I like author Kristen Welch’s book, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World for many reasons. One reason is because she also digs deeper. She gets past the fears and anxieties about going beyond the surface of a behavior. She looks for the meaning and motivation behind words and actions. In doing so, she is able to deal with the root of problems that occur in the family.
Kristen writes with comedic candor and the knowledge and experience of a parenting expert. Although she lets us know several times that she is not. In each chapter, she invites us into her home. She does this, not to show that she has all the answers, but that she understands from experience. To let us know she is still in the trenches. To remind us of our responsibility to raise grateful kids. Not people who walk around feeling entitled to everything.
In the table of contents, each new section is labeled with a phrase having to do with navigating through water. From the onset, Kristen prepares the readers to brace themselves for the ebbs and flows of parenthood.
In the book, she is neither afraid to quote parenting experts nor to admit her missteps as a parent. For this reason alone, she gains my trust enough to continue past the appendices.
What’s more, she offers a study/discussion guide to help you “go deeper in personally applying the message of how to cultivate gratitude in your kids.”
It can be used to help foster discussion within a group of parents or be used in personal reflection.
It is Not This
What it is not is a book listing what you must do (or not do) with your kids. It is a guide to help parents understand the dynamics of their own home. And finally, it challenges us, as parents, to question our motivations and goals for our children.
I would recommend that it be part of every parent’s “must-read” list. For the benefit of our children, our society and our future.