The Importance of Encouraging a Spirit of Thanks and Gratitude
As your children enter their teenage years, you may start to notice them constantly focusing on what they want – rather than acknowledging what they already have. With so much comparison being driven by social media on a superficial level, it’s not surprising that the mentality of constantly “wanting more” can often lead teenage girls down a path of negativity and dissatisfaction with life in general. As we approach the Thanksgiving season, this is the perfect time of year to start instilling a spirit of thanks and gratitude in your household.
Here are some of the reasons why it’s so important to foster gratitude in young girls:
Greater happiness. Teens who take the time to be thankful for what they’ve been given ultimately experience greater happiness in their lives. This is because they’re reflecting on everything they’ve been given (even the basics, such as clean clothing and food), rather than focusing on what they believe they’re entitled to. Experiencing feelings of gratitude reduces jealousy and depression in teens, opening their eyes to their many blessings and helping them understand what’s truly important for a happy and healthy life.
Better social relationships. In addition to the positive effect gratitude has on one’s self, it allows for teens to develop stronger, healthier relationships at home and school. As your teen embraces a mindset of gratitude, she will become inspired to show genuine acts of kindness to others. Over time, your daughter will begin only making connections with peers who are equally kind and supportive of them. This contributes to a positive social life, in which your teen has a foundation to build friendships with real meaning and purpose.
Discovery of strengths. Perhaps one of the most powerful effects of gratitude in teens is the gradual discovery of individual strengths. As teens realize what they’ve been given, they see firsthand everything they have to give back. Whether it’s sending a gift to a sick friend in the hospital or volunteering at a homeless shelter, girls who demonstrate gratitude are more likely to discover the power they have in making an impact on their friends, family and communities. Sometimes these discoveries can even lead to the exploration of potential career interests, such as healthcare, social work or special education!
Setting an example of giving thanks and gratitude starts at home. This Thanksgiving consider working at a soup kitchen as a family and serving dinner to others in need. Or, have your teens identify other volunteer opportunities that resonate most with their interests. The sooner you can instill a spirit of gratitude in your children, the more they’ll learn how to be the best versions of themselves.