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vs. Unthankfulness

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Showing Gratefulness

  In a recent poll, 78% of teenagers say they rely "a lot" or a "fair amount" on their parents for support and guidance. Without that support, kids often report low levels of self esteem. And lowered self esteem can translate to serious issues: problems in school, experimentation with drugs, or sexual activity.

  While most parents are well-intentioned when it comes to expressing their appreciation for their child, too often it comes as an afterthought. "I think it's very important, and I think that's like a lot of the reason why kids get into drugs and kids get into teen pregnancy and all that kind of stuff...it's because, you know, their parents aren't there for them saying, you know, I love you. I just didn't bring you in this world for nothing but you're here for a reason," said Jill, age 13.

  Experts have long stressed the importance of parents showing children they are grateful for them. A recently released study indicates that 90 % of all suicidal teens say that gratefulness from parents is something lacking in their lives.

  "The one common thread among them seems to be that they don't feel appreciated by their parents," advises Dr. Nancy McGarrah, psychologist.

What Parents Should Know

  While a child's self-esteem has been commonly known to affect school performance, it also directly relates to many other issues affecting kids today.

    One-fifth of all eighth graders in the U.S. are considered to be at high risk of school failure.

    The teen suicide rate has doubled since 1968. Ten percent of adolescent boys and 18 % of girls have attempted suicide and 30% have considered it.

    Violence in schools is now the primary concern of school administrators nationwide. Eighty-two percent report a significant increase in violence during the past five years.

    Over the past 20 years, anorexia (nervosa), an eating disorder, has affected double the number of kids it once did.

    Homicide is now this country's third leading cause of death for elementary and middle school children. There were 2,555 juvenile homicides in 1990 alone.

    Two separate studies have concluded that the most common catalyst for violence was "self-image compensating," a by-product of low self-esteem.

Focus on the Positive
As many kids grow into teenagers, adults sometimes lose sight of the positives, and focus, rather, on the problems. For many families, the turbulence of the teen years overshadows the  good choices a teen may be making.

  Experts advise that parents make that extra effort in looking for the good things, making sure that those good choices are just as "newsworthy" as their mistakes.

Respect, Love and a Good Example
There are countless ways to show gratefulness to a child… but it's important that parents not try to "fake" it. In other words, wait for legitimate opportunities to express your love and appreciation. Excessive praise at the wrong time will only devalue the parents' praise. There are ways in general to show your child how much you value them – as a matter of course:

  1. All children need to be treated as individuals in their own right.
  2. We should respect their feelings and encourage them to talk about them.
  3. Parents showing affection for each other provide a good lesson in living.
  4. Sharing your thoughts with your child makes them feel needed.
  5. All children love to have their say...give them a chance to do that.

To read other stories, use your *CuddleCode™  to unlock information, stories, games, and learn more about Gratefulness!

*CuddleCodes™ are found within the CharacTerra StoryBook that comes with each TerraCuddle.

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