Raising Grateful Kids In An Entitled World by Kristen Welch was one of the first books to make it on my 2016 reading list.
Every year I try to read 1-2 books in different areas of my life that I want to grow in. One of those areas is parenting.
I struggle with wanting my kids to be happy and giving them the best, but that doesn't always mean giving them everything they want. Sometimes it looks like letting them struggle to figure something out or saying no even when it causes tears.
Kristen touches on areas that we will all face as parents - wants vs needs, fitting in, expectations, attitudes, how we as parents can play into our children's entitlement and most importantly that it's never to late to turn it around.
Whether you are in the midst of facing entitlement in your family and trying to find your way out or just need some encouragement to keep on with the diligent work of cultivating gratitude you'll get something out of Kristen's journey.
I'm still reading through and re-reading this one, digesting the solid practical advice.
Kristin has some great words and practical actions that we can take while raising our children of all ages. As a parent if it's not on your reading list this year, it should be.
You can visit WeAreThatFamily.com to learn more about Kristen and her book
A copy of this book was provided by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review.
Finally, about ten years ago, the light began to dawn, and you cant imagine how disappointed I was. I realized that parenting is not a cause and effect proposition. Its not a vending machine in which I insert my actions (seizing teachable moments, training in character, consistency in discipline) and then am rewarded by equal and corresponding reactions (obedience, respect, good behavior).
Im a slow learner, so this was earth-shattering for me, but . . .
Having said that, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch reminds me that if I want my children to appreciate their blessings and to operate out of gratitude rather than entitlement, I had better be modeling the right heart attitude myself.
In the Great Balancing Act called parenting, we are at war against three words: Is that all? In ourselves, in our kids, Western culture exacerbates our entrenched selfishness in everything from ice cream servings to allowances. Enough is never enough.
Kristen is writing from the trenches of raising three kids, and so the tone of Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World is NOT we have arrived and heres how your kids can ooze gratitude like our perfect children do. She comes alongside her readers with humble offerings: Heres what were doing. Heres what others have tried, and thats great, too. Kristens perspective is derived from the knowledge that parents who are willing to fight against the prevailing culture and for an attitude of thankfulness in their children will feel as if they are swimming upstream.
My oldest son talked early and often so I can still hear his husky toddler voice saying, Theres a difference between a need and a want. To me! Even so, one need that is common to all kids is their parents love, and ironically, in our culture of possessions and privileges, it is common to find children who are sadly lacking in that need while every want is speedily fulfilled.
No one sets out with a goal of spoiling her children, but little daily choices that arise from incorrect thinking accomplish the task over time. Kristen unmasks some of these:
1. We want our kids to be our friends.
2. Were afraid to say no because of the fallout (slammed doors, tears, eye rolling, shouting).
3.We feel guilty about our circumstances and try to compensate with permissiveness.
4.We are busy. We eat fast food on the way to one of Juniors three different soccer league practices, take on an extra job to pay for a Disneyland vacation, and dont have time for the slow work of eyeball to eyeball interaction in which we pass on our values.
5.We dont want them to fail, so we make things easy for them.
6.We dont want them to feel left out, so we cave to the everyone else argument.
7.We dont want them to be unhappy.
It is not for nothing, then, that Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World provides an end-of-each-chapter assortment of age-related hints for going against the flow.
Put a plan in place. Decide in advance what you will say yes to.
Make cookies together. You may eat one for your effort, and then give the rest away to brighten someones day. Teach your children that we dont have to keep everything for ourselves.
For elementary age:
Clean out closets and drawers, and instead of giving away only things that they wont miss, urge your kids to include something they really love to share with someone else.
It may seem to your son or daughter as if shes the only one in her class or hes the only one in his grade or on this planet who isnt fitting in or keeping up. But if we are going to compare ourselves to others, lets also compare ourselves to kids who live in poverty.
The award for most practical feature goes to the chapter called Making Smart Choices about Technology with its related idea of a cell phone contract.
Central to all this intentionality and hard work is the goal of introducing kids to the freedom of self-discipline; to the security that comes from seeing parents follow through on their principles; and the self-confidence that can only come to kids who have been allowed to struggle a bit and then to solve their own problem before a parent comes swooping in to rob them of the privilege. We must love our children enough to make the hard choices that lead to a lifestyle of gratitude.
This book was provided by Tyndale Momentum, an imprint of Tyndale House Publishing, in exchange for my review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commissions 16 CFR, Part 255 : Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
I enjoy Kristen Welchs parenting blog (We are THAT Family) and looked forward to reading her new book. It did not disappoint! Welch does a terrific job tackling why we do our children a disservice by giving them too much and how to help develop a healthy life perspective in our children through service and hard work all within the context of a faith filled home.
While this complimentary book was provided for review by Tyndale Press, no other compensation was given. All remarks are my personal and honest opinions.
I fell in love with this book from the first chapter. This is exactly the advice I needed to help me know how to work through this entitlement problem with my children, and maybe even expose some of it in myself. Honestly, I grew up on the mission field. Even though we do not have as much as the "Jonses" now, I have seen people with much, much less, and it really makes me appreciate what I have. But my children did not grow up there, I don't really think they know what it's like to really do without, except for doing without what they think they need to have that all their friends have such as a tablet? or the latest DS game? or a new bike? I want them to learn thankfulness, in good times and in hard times. I want them to really recognize their blessings and appreciate them, and I certainly want them to learn the value of hard work and a dollar. (Not the "value" of me fulfilling all their wants and desires)
Kristen's advice is not just a series of words, and sentences, but a personal experience. I loved reading about the things that happened in her family, with her own children, or her personal story. Why? Because that means, I can do this too. If it is working with her it can work for us. She is sure to let us know that she is not a parenting expert, but simply speaking from the heart about what they have put into practice as a family and how it has affected them. One of the things she said that really resonated with me was "What our culture feels entitled to isn't just stuff. It's the desire to fit in, to feel good or happy all the time; to receive something just because we want it, hard work optional." And then, a little further on, "It takes consistent teaching to remember we aren't owed happiness all the time. That's not our goal because god can use disappointments and even discouragement to draw us closer to Him. Contentment is our aim, because it doesn't fluctuate with our circumstances."
Will you agree with everything she says? Maybe not, but in today's entitled society, if you are looking for a breath a fresh air, help with developing a more grateful attitude in the life of your kids, this will be a great resource. I would definitely recommend reading it thoroughly.
I was blessed with a copy of this book from Tyndale Blog Network.
The premise of this book is that giving our children everything they want, and protecting them from all hard things, isn't good for them. Kristin Welch spends a lot of time backing up this belief. I skimmed that part of the book...those weren't new ideas for me. She spends some time on technology and issues that are more present with teenagers. I skimmed those parts, too.
I did find some encouraging nuggets though. My favorite thing in the book is how her family eats beans and rice every Monday to remind them of people around the world who live on beans and rice. What a great, practical way to remind your family of how much we have and to be grateful.
I loved Kristin's first book Rhinestone Jesus, which was her story of Jesus' working in her life. This book was a bit slow in comparison. I liked the ideas, but I think I could have read one article instead of it being stretched through a whole book.
I would recommend this book to someone who is new to the idea of not giving their kids everything. Kristin does a thorough job of walking you through what it looks like to let your kids work hard, fail at things, and go without for the sake of growing healthy young people. This is a message that parents today need to hear.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.