By: Kelly Scott, MA.Ed. (CYS Program Director)
Let’s face it, in today’s high paced and demanding world, we forget and frankly do not have time for many things. One thing we may forget as human beings, is to show the people we care about the most, how grateful we are for them. It has been proven, time and time again, how being grateful and showing gratitude can not only make the people around us happy, but also makes ourselves feel good and happy. Here are some easy, simple ways to show we care and are grateful for our teens:
1. Listen. Sounds easy enough, right? Listening is a skill that can be quite difficult, especially for us control freaks! However, it is truly the most important thing we can do for our kids (as well as friends, neighbors, and loved ones). Next time you are so eager to tell them to clean their room, or lecture them about driving too fast, just try to keep your opinions to yourself and just listen. It will be overwhelmingly eye opening.
2. Ask Powerful Questions. Instead of asking “why” all the time (which can, by the way, put your teen or anyone on defense), try to go with “what” and “how” questions. Utilizing what and how questions provide your teen ways to answer with open responses. The other question starters are more for yes, no, and simple answers. After you ask the question, go to number 1 and LISTEN! This shows that you care about what they think and it allows your teen to solve their problems, critically think, and process their next steps verbally.
3. Be specific and elaborate when you say “thank you.” Instead of saying “thank you for doing the dishes.” Maybe say “Wow, you don’t know how grateful I am that you helped around the house today. I really see how you are taking so much responsibility in following through with what you say you are going to do. This makes me trust you, whole heartedly.” This not only makes them feel appreciated, but it also is teaching them a very important life skill. To appreciate things and for the people that do things for you.
4. Model gratitude. Actions speak louder than words. It’s important that we show our teens how gratitude helps us mentally and emotionally. When someone does something for us, or is just there to support us, let them know and show them that you truly appreciate them. Remember to thank the youngsters in your community often as well. In our community, we tend to forget to show our appreciation for the children and teens around us. Getting that appreciation from other adults is a needed asset for their development.
Humans need to feel important. It is in our nature to have purpose and feel connected to one another. By modeling and showing gratitude to our teens, we are making them feel important. Try it and see for yourself!
1. Listen to your child…really, really, actively listen to them; (that means, no long lectures!)
2. Ask your child powerful questions to initiate communication and learn about how and what your child thinks.
3. Say thank you with gusto. So instead of just “thank you” tell them what and why you are thankful.
4. Model how thankful you are for the people, things, animals around you. This will provide examples to your own children in order for them to do it themselves.