kids are ungrateful always envious - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 12 Old 02-18-2016, 08:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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kids are ungrateful always envious

I dont know if this is a disipline issue but our blended house has huge issues of not saying thank you especially when we do special things or get upset if we dont do exactly what they want. Like if we go to the movies they have to have a drink popcorn and candy or it isn't a great time and they never say thanks. Or we go skating and i dont get them food. Or we go to a presentation at the nature center and do a short walk instead of a long one and they complain.

Or they are envious, why x get to go here? Why does why get to do that?

I am beginning to think it is a blended family issue but for the love, it drives me mad...the kids have it good they truly do. They all are in a blended situation but they get time with all parents, get to do sports and such, we dont deprive them they have all they need and more than most in this world.

Just not sure how to correct the attitude. I have went into conversation when that stuff comes up but they always do it and it hurts to know they dont appreciate all we provide.

I just dont remember being so ungrateful as a child and i had much much less than they do.
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#2 of 12 Old 02-18-2016, 08:24 PM
 
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Maybe they have too much? Cut back on everything for a while until you can "treat" them at some point in the future and see how they behave then.
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#3 of 12 Old 02-19-2016, 04:50 AM
 
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Well I wish I knew how to make someone else 'feel' something because I would use that superpower for sure!!!

The only way I know how to influence someone else for good is to model it like crazy.

Perhaps start a 'random acts of kindness' thing in your house---you and your partner get it going first. Try to get them to do it too. There is nothing like the feeling of doing something for another person without thought of recognition, but just 'because'. Perhaps they need to be exposed to that.

Also have you ever tried in a calm moment (not when you are irritated with them) to explain your values? And explain why 'please' and 'thank you' are important? I wonder if they understand this. I have sometimes said that even if my kids might take it for granted with me, I just want to know that they KNOW HOW to use their manners outside the home, so I insist that they use them so that I can be reassured they are growing up to be decent humans!

When you go to the movies, talk out loud about the cost and your budget. Food in the theatre is crazy expensive so ask them if they'd rather have that or get "x" (another thing that costs $30 that would benefit everyone at home). Then they could also see the value of those dollars. For example, $30 for theatre food would probably finance a whole ice cream party at home. Kids are sheltered from the real cost of things these days when us parents just pull out our plastic to pay!
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#4 of 12 Old 02-19-2016, 09:13 AM
 
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Ugh, my son has phases like this, and it's so annoying! (I don't think it's a blended family issue; we aren't one.) I like Philomom's idea of cutting back on treats for a while to make them more special, and Lauren's idea of offering a choice about how to spend the treat money.

Make sure the kids hear you and your partner saying please and thank you to one another on a regular basis. In our house, we routinely thank each other for doing our routine chores: "Thanks for cooking!" "Thanks for getting groceries. I'm really glad to have graham crackers again." My son picked this up by about 2 years old, and while he doesn't do it every time by a long shot, he'll thank us for something a couple times a week, and it's better than nothing.

It also helps to state clearly in advance what you are and aren't going to buy, especially when going to a place that's been problematic in the past. For example, when I was pregnant, a shopping trip would make me hungry so that I needed a snack; simultaneously, I was having trouble with my son acting bratty in stores, ordering me around, constantly complaining that I was standing in the wrong place relative to him or the cart, demanding that we buy certain things and not taking No for an answer. Costco is a particularly tiring store and has a highly visible, affordable snack bar on the way out. In the short term, I solved the shopping problem at 6 months pregnant by declaring that he was not allowed to come along to any store until after the baby was born. When I started taking him again, I spelled out the rules at the beginning of each shopping trip, and this included telling him firmly that we would not always be getting a snack. The rule for Costco now is that he needs to use good behavior throughout, and then when we're in line for checkout he may ask for a treat and I will consider it then. My decision is based on a number of things, including how much junk he ate at the free sample tables, how hungry I am, and whether we have time to stand in the snack bar line, as well as evaluating his behavior. I decided on this rather than, "If I have to warn you about your behavior more than X times, then no snack," because I suspected that once he'd lost the snack, he'd feel no incentive to behave well and would be really horrible the rest of the time!

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#5 of 12 Old 02-19-2016, 09:18 AM
 
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Oh, also, I really like this idea of making sure kids realize that what they have is "in the middle" rather than deprived: http://wearethatfamily.com/2016/02/g...ves-to-others/

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#6 of 12 Old 02-20-2016, 11:19 AM
 
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Oh, I know some folks here at Mothering hate the Berenstain bears but they have a great book which covers this topic. Helped my littles a lot.



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#7 of 12 Old 02-21-2016, 11:54 AM
 
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Deprivation, or awareness of it, goes a long way towards feeling appreciation, but some ways are better than others to convey or implement it. My parents always had a steady income and food / housing security yet felt deprived and mentioned it often. What I think would have helped more would have been an attitude that "hey, we've got x resources, and we're making the most of them by allocating them this way." Accentuating what they didn't have sucked a lot of joy out of life. I'd rather have had or done less expensive things but seen my parents enjoy them.

I strongly agree with PPs who suggest modeling gratitude. DH and I have always alluded to how much we appreciate what we have. We also made / make it a point to express gratitude to our kids. They're 23 and 26, and we consistently hear thank-yous from them and their girlfriends. They express a consciousness of how lucky and well-off they are, and they mention things we've done for them months or years after the fact.
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#8 of 12 Old 02-21-2016, 01:32 PM
 
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Why are you taking it personally, was my first thought?

My children have never been made to say thank you (or other polite phrases) & generally say them without prompting. Children want the world because they don't understand allocation of resources. Our priorities are not theirs & vice versa. So, they don't understand that we can't have movie tickets AND all the other stuff too. I found preparing my children ahead of time for what to expect goes a long way. As in, "we're going to the movies, we'll have a snack beforehand & if you're thirsty while the movie is on, we can use the water fountain." Or something along those lines. There's a section in the book, How to Talk So Children Will Listen & Listen So Children Will Talk, that addresses this. The one suggest I remember was to grant your children's wishes in fantasy. So, in this case, a response could be, "It would be great to be able to have the snacks along with the movie!" I highly recommend the book, for this as well as all the other helpful ideas it has.

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#9 of 12 Old 02-28-2016, 07:44 PM
 
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Agree with philomom.
Fish don't know they're in water sometimes.
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#10 of 12 Old 03-05-2016, 03:35 PM
 
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I make my kids say please and thank you. When they borrow each other's toys they have to ask nicely. When they open their birthday presents they must read the cards and say something nice to the person who gave the gift. When it's their dad's birthday or father's day they help me cook breakfast and pick a gift and make a card for him. Dh does the same for me.
I think kids need a lot of hands-on guidance to learn proper behavior. If I just allude or model one-way respect, it still wouldn't diminish their entitlement.
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#11 of 12 Old 03-06-2016, 07:50 AM
 
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agree that kids take stuff for granted

This may not be a bad thing(meaning they are not "bad"), just that they are so comfortable getting stuff and being looked after that they take things for granted. They have no perspective on how they could have less. They see what they want and they want it, we live in a high consumption culture which encourages this. And kids at the toddler age equate wanting stuff with possession. I want it it's mine. It's probably a good idea like someone said to outline the plans for the activity, I used to tell my son sometimes that we were not buying the expensive junk food in the theatre but maybe we could for example get a slice of pizza together later. My son was the only child in our family for a long time, he would get bombarded with gifts from relatives, he started to believe gifts from people was his due. I begged people to slow down as a lot of the stuff was not the useful stuff we needed and I didn't like them spending so much of their own money. Maybe you could get the kids to weed through their stuff to see if they have stuff they don't need or want and then donate it to a charity.
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#12 of 12 Old 10-26-2016, 06:58 AM
 
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I see three separate concepts here,

possessing the habit of saying thank you.
possessing the virtue of gratitude.
suffering from the vice of envy.

The first is a preference... the other two are absolutely necessary to master (virtue of gratitude) or overcome (vice of envy) to be a happy and whole human.

My son is two and says thank you for everything. I have never taught him to say it other than to say it to him myself. But it is not a huge deal to me.

That my son is grateful is HUGE. Ingrates are failures and I don't want that for my son, so i work on it with him all the time.

Envy is sorrow for another's good. It is one of the most self destructive vices a person can have. My Parents taught me to avoid it and when my son is just a little older I will do the same for him.

It is important to let your child know what is important and how important it is as well... a sense of proportion is important.
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