On a thankfulness scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the best), where would you place your adolescent?
When they were just young children, we could ask them to say “thank you” at the appropriate times and most children willingly made the correct response. Now that they are older, you just have to hope for the best.
I know that the desire of all parents is that their child appreciates what is being done for them, but I think we need to be careful not to judge our adolescents too harshly. They are in a tremendous time of transition both physically and emotionally. Some days I think they are just fighting to keep as tight a lid as possible on their emotions. That battle likely clouds the good feelings of thankfulness that go unexpressed.
When you talk with adults, many of them reflect back on their adolescent years with some regret. They will often lament the fact that they didn’t thank a teacher or a friend who supported them during a difficult time. There is always remorse over ungrateful outbursts toward parents who were sacrificing for them. Maybe the adolescent years are more of a time for learning about thankfulness than for always expressing it.
How Well Do You Model Thankfulness?
This is where parents come in. Ask yourself, “How would your adolescent rate you on the thankfulness scale?”
If I were to ask you to rate yourself on the same thankfulness scale, how would you do? You are an important role model for your child. How often do you thank the people around you, especially your family? When you are out in public with your adolescent, does your child hear the words of someone who looks for the good in others and is generous with their expressions of appreciation?
The adolescent years are one of the most important times of personal growth in your child’s life. Help your child learn to express thankfulness by modeling it yourself. In time, thankfulness will become part of their heart too.