Does your tween ever complain? If you’re like millions of other parents, then the answer is yes, definitely! As kids grow and mature, they’ll be bombarded with a whole bunch of emotions and discoveries about who they are—and what they like or don’t like about life. Unfortunately, this can easily breed a habit of grumbling and complaining.
The very best antidote for complaining is gratitude.
Gratitude is a shift in perspective. It involves recognizing our blessings and learning to appreciate them. The more we count our blessings, the more we realize God is good, which in turn makes us more grateful. It’s a beautiful cycle!
Here are four ways to encourage your tween to focus on gratitude.
1. Keep a blessings journal. Ask your tween to identify five or ten things to be thankful for every day, then write them down. At the end of a week, review the list together and discuss any recurring themes or surprises. How did this exercise make your child feel? How did it change her attitude? Gratitude must become a habit; therefore, practicing it daily will help a heart of thanks take root.
2. Do something nice for someone. Often helping others allows us to get our focus off ourselves. By giving our attention to someone else, we are less likely to complain about what’s not going right in our own lives. And when another person says “thank you” for our help, we learn how great it feels to receive gratitude—which might inspire your tween to pass it on.
3. Create an environment of worship. Who deserves our thanks and praise? God does! Therefore, keep building the kind of home where God is praised daily, in every way. Play worship music, thank God when you pray often, read Scripture together as a family to remember the great things God has done and continues to do in your lives. Make God’s grace a part of your everyday lifestyle, and gratitude will be the natural response.
4. Model it. In order to truly encourage tweens to be grateful, parents need to show them by example what gratitude looks like. Cultivate a habit of gratitude in your own life, and your daughter will do as you do, not just as you say.