Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Teenagers, Gratitude and Peer-pressure

I know as parents and caregivers it is agonizing to watch your teenager have little respect and gratitude for you and others, however there are a lot of concerns facing our kids today.  We would do well to understand and empathize with these a little better.   

Peer pressure makes more of an impact on children as they get into the pre-teen and teenage years and this pressure cannot be underestimated.  There are going to be times that your child neglects using courteous words and tone in order to fit in and not bring attention to himself.  For better or worse, this is a stress on his life that we parents and caregivers need to support him through.  Try to remember when you were your child’s age.  Weren’t there things you did or did not do just to “blend in?”  Requiring your child to use the words “please” and “thank you” will only add to their stress, especially when done in public. 

Instead seek out and welcome the moments when your child does show gratitude.  I bet that if you really look you could find hints that he is appreciative or at least has moments where he is.  You need to embrace these moments and accept them for what they are then work to continue to provide an atmosphere where your child is seeing gratitude in action. 

In the end, even with teenagers, this is the most effective way to teach your child to be polite and grateful.  When you talk to everyone you meet with sweetness and civility, your child will begin to treat people that way too.  As you explain to your child why you say thank you to others, he will understand why it is the right thing to do even if he doesn’t always act accordingly. 

Ironically, speaking with teenagers is, at times, the most difficult time for parents to model polite behavior.  But is also the most important time to do so. 

To read my previous posts about teaching children to be polite please see: “How do I teach my children to be polite” and “How do I teach my teenager to be polite

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