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4 Ways To Foster Thankfulness In Your Teen


  “I wish my teen was more thankful for what he/she has.”

“I do so much for my kids, it’s not that hard to say ‘thank you’."

“My teen acts like she is entitled to all these things – it’s hard."


During this special time of year of Thanksgiving, holidays and school breaks, we spend more time with family: shopping together, chatting around the dinner table, expressing love, spirituality and thankfulness. 

Here are some tips to help foster an “attitude of gratitude” in your kids/teenagers.


1. Don’t Spoil Them. Don’t Casually Buy Them Things. Don’t Appease Them. Don’t Rescue Them.

Wow – That’s a lot of don’ts!

Yet, it’s good parenting advice.

Spoiled, rescued kids are usually not grateful for what they have.

Kids who have everything they want, are usually not thankful when they get something new.

If you want to increase thankfulness and gratitude, then decrease casual buying, appeasing and rescuing.


2. Make OR Renegotiate Good "Deals" With Your Teen, Which Break Entitlement

I have written many times that parenting a modern teenager should feel like a Win/Win relationship.

Your teen “wins” because he/she gets things that he/she wants: Phone, wifi, car rides, Netflix, new clothes, Starbucks, games, etc….

Parents “win” because we get what we want: Respect, open communication, chores, gratitude, good grades, a kind attitude and confidence that our kids are trending towards independence and healthy maturity.

If you are not getting what you want, you may be in a win/lose relationship with your teen!

...which means you have entered into a number of bad "deals" with them.

...which means they may feel entitled.

...which means they won't feel thankful.

Why would a teen be thankful if they feel entitled?

And if this is true, it’s probably time to re-negotiate your deals!

Contact us for teen coaching or parent coaching if you need help with this!


 3. Have Everyone at the Dinner Table Take Turns Saying “Grace” or Sharing Three Things They are Thankful For

Parents set the values, morals and culture in every home - and in every family.

Parents are teachers, and the dining table is a classroom.

If you would like to cultivate a value of thankfulness in your home, the family dinner table is a prime time to do it!


4. Be Intentional About Expressing Thankfulness Around Your Kids

This is an example of how, with kids/teens, “More is caught than taught.”

In other words, if you want your kids to communicate more thankfulness, start with yourself.


From my family to yours, have a Happy Thanksgiving!



Be Strong. Stay Close. Teach Wisdom.

 Your Friend,

Sean Donohue

Family Coach 

Founder of

 Click HERE to go deeper with Sean.