Instilling Gratitude in Your Teen: The Importance of Being Thankful

A simple thank you can go a long way. We’ve all experienced that moment when another person was truly thankful for something we did for them and it’s a joy when we get to share our gratitude with others. By showing your teen the importance of being appreciative of others, you’ll help them become a more mature and respectful individual.

The Importance of Gratitude

Taking the time to instill thankfulness and gratitude in your teen helps them to not take things for granted, and they’ll appreciate when others give their time, energy and money to help your teen out. They’re also encouraged to help others and recognize that there are people who are in less fortunate positions. Thankfulness fosters a spirit of generosity and positivity instead of entitlement—all of which can help your teen work harder, be a better friend and contribute to their community in meaningful ways.

With these lifelong benefits in mind, how can you instill gratitude in your teen?

Leading By Example

gratitude expressing thankfulness

Image Credit: Brooke Cagle

Your teen notices many of your actions so leading by example and expressing thankfulness within your family will effectively teach your teen these same attributes. A few simple acts you can do:

1. Say Thank You

It sounds straightforward, but saying thank you—and really meaning it—is an easy way you can show your teen how to be grateful. If they’ve done something helpful or kind, such as washing the dishes without being asked, take a moment to thank your teen for this thoughtful action. Don’t forget to thank your partner, other family members as well as people in your community whenever they’ve been helpful.

2. Share What You’re Grateful For

Did you have a good day at work? A delicious meal? A quality conversation with good friends? Sharing things that you appreciate with your teen will teach them to notice things that they’re thankful for in their own lives.

3. Recognize Wonderful Moments in Life

You can also expand your gratitude to take some time and identify moments of beauty in your life and pass this skill along to your teen. Was tonight’s sunset particularly gorgeous? Did you notice a moment of kindness between two strangers that was especially inspiring? Noticing these things in your life will help both you and your teen feel more positive and grateful for what you have.

Encourage Them to Pitch In

laundry household chore

Image Credit: ilaria88

There are many ways you can encourage your teen to help out—both at home and in their community. This will help them to understand the reality of hard work and caring for others, which will allow them to be more appreciative when they’re on the receiving end of someone’s generosity and kindness.

1. Participate in Household Chores

Asking your teen to pitch in with household chores helps them develop a strong work ethic, and they’ll have a clearer idea of what goes into maintaining a home. Once they have a turn at doing their own laundry, cooking a meal, washing the dishes or taking care of the dog, they’ll develop a better understanding for the effort that you put in as a parent.

2. Volunteer in the Community

On a larger scale, community volunteering gives your teen the opportunity to think beyond themselves. They might gain a better appreciation for nature when they volunteer with an ecological group or they might become more grateful for what they have when they help the homeless. By volunteering, they’ll learn the power of giving and appreciate when someone else extends a helping hand to them.

At the end of the day, gratitude is something we can all nurture more deeply within ourselves. Teaching your teen to be thankful for what they have is an important skill that will last them a lifetime.

Feature Image: Eli DeFaria