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10 Strategies: Teaching Kids To Be Grateful or Else!

Ungrateful Child

10 Strategies for Teaching Kids to Be Grateful

If you’d like 10 strategies for teaching kids to be grateful when they’re not, read these suggestions from Roxanne Porter. As our expert blogger, she’s sharing the article, “10 Ways to Handle an Ungrateful Child.” Which strategies do you like the best? Are there some you disagree with?

“10 Ways to Handle an Ungrateful Child”

“Jimmy Kimmel had his viewers give their kids yucky gifts and get video of their responses. The results were hilarious! Some children seem to have some pretty lofty expectations when it comes to getting gifts and can be less than gracious when they don’t get what they want.

Unfortunately, commercial advertising has greatly contributed to these high expectations especially during the Christmas season. How do parents deal with a kid who doesn’t appreciate the gifts they receive? Here are 10 ways to handle an ungrateful child.

1. Define gift – The first step a parent should consider is to define the meaning of gift to the child. Let him/her know that a present is not something they’re entitled to receive, but rather something given freely without expectation of reward. Explain that showing gratitude and hiding any disappointment is the least he/she could do.

2. Lesson in manners – This would be a good time for a teachable moment. Children need to learn what is and isn’t sociably acceptable behavior. A little lesson in proper manners would be in order by explaining what the proper response to receiving a gift should be.

3. Give gifts to charity – If your child is ungrateful for his/her gifts, go ahead and give them to your local charity. Make sure to take the child along when you do this and explain that there are plenty of less fortunate kids who would appreciate them.

4. Ignore it – If this is the first time this happens, especially if the gift is less than thrilling, you may just want to ignore the situation. Young children don’t have the ability to hide their feelings until they have the maturity to learn what is expected of them.

5. Return gifts – Of course, if your child really doesn’t like the present, you can just take it back. If you are the one who gave the gift, just keep the money or put it in the child’s saving account.

6. Exchange gifts – If it really was a disappointing gift, perhaps you can have the child exchange it for something else they like. Since this is common practice for adults, kids may as well learn how the process works.

7. Guilt – If this ingratitude becomes a repetitive problem, maybe a little guilt trip would be in order. Kids need to know that there are other children who are far less fortunate than they are who don’t get any gifts at all.

8. Shame – If guilt doesn’t work perhaps a little shame would be in order. Ask your child how he/she would feel if you didn’t like something they gave to you or someone else. Putting the shoe on the other foot may help them realize why ingratitude is not acceptable.

9. Threaten – If all else fails, you can always threaten to withhold any gifts on the next occasion. Remember, this will only work if you follow through. It may be a difficult thing to do, but empty threats won’t work.

10. Laugh– On the other hand, you can take a cue from the Jimmy Kimmel videos and just laugh. It’s not the end of the world if kids are unappreciative. You only need to be concerned if this behavior becomes a pattern or if your child has unrealistic expectations.

Whatever you do, don’t fall into a trap and let your kids make you feel guilty yourself. Parents can get themselves into financial trouble trying to fulfill their children’s unrealistic expectations. Kids need to know that they can’t expect to get everything they want. Even if you can afford it, it’s not healthy for children to expect their every wish to be fulfilled. There are always disappointments in life and children need to learn to deal with it eventually. A level headed approach plus a little humor can help diffuse an unpleasant situation and help your child learn the real meaning of giving.”


Let's THANK Roxanne Porter for sharing this fine article.

Please connect with Roxanne Porter at


What are your opinions about this blog post or your suggestions for raising grateful children? Please answer in the comment link below.

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With warm wishes,

Jean Tracy, MSS

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