I am new to this mom of a teenager life. However, I know how difficult it is to teach a teenager anything. I have a cousin-daughter I helped raise through her teen years and plenty of nieces and nephews. I was also a teen once, and I was a pill. Anyone with teenagers knows that teens learn differently from children and that, in some ways, it can be more challenging to raise teens than kids. This is when your children will be testing every boundary they dare push. This includes gratitude which is deeply tied in with an attitude, and we all know teens have attitude. But even through this challenging time in their lives, it is important to keep teaching them because they are still learning and paying attention. Here are a few tips on teaching teens gratitude.
Don’t Correct Them. Remind Them
While correcting children works amazingly, reminding them to say thank you and things like that creates tension in teens and makes it more difficult for you to teach them anything. So instead of correcting them, be a little more gracious. Also, remember that just like all the other changes they’re going through, the way they express gratitude may also change. Patience and an open mind will go a long way to keeping your dialog open.
Encourage Them to Take Responsibility for Their Actions
Your worldview is more than a bit self-centered when you’re a teenager. Anything good happened because of you, and something wrong was someone else’s doing. Encourage your teen to take responsibility for their actions when things go wrong. When something good happens, encourage them to acknowledge everyone who had a part in the success.
Get Them Involved in Volunteering
If your teen isn’t already volunteering, then get them out there! Helping hand out food to the homeless and visiting residents of nursing homes are two excellent ways for teens to volunteer and learn gratitude. They will see less fortunate people and, in turn, be more grateful for what they have. While working with people is best for this dose of reality, really any volunteering will help.
Lead by Example
It may be difficult when your teens are being little jerks to remember to express gratitude towards them, but it’s essential to keep it up. As I said before, it may not seem like it, but they are still watching and looking to you to set a good example.
Talk About Deeper Topics, Including Money
At this point in their lives, you’re preparing teens for life in the adult world, so it’s important to expand your conversations to deeper topics. Teach them the value of money by explaining how many hours you’d have to work to get them that new iPhone or how many hours they would have to work at a minimum wage job to get it. Talk about rights vs. privileges and give them real-world examples of injustices in the world.
Teach Them to Find the Positive
Finally, teach them to find the positive in life. Something as simple as changing the words you use when you talk about things can change your outlook. Instead of “I have to do my homework,” encourage them to say, “When I’ve got my homework done, I can go play Fortnite.” This slight change significantly impacts your outlook and works great for adults. I have added a few additional gratitude articles that you may enjoy below.