• My 12 year-old daughter recently became a vegetarian. Though I’m not, I encouraged her to try it. This entailed having to make special dishes for every meal which was more work, but I was more than happy to support her. We bought all kinds of fancy ready-to-eat vegetarian dishes (Morningstar veggie patties, Lean Cuisine veggie lasagnas, etc.) which were quite pricey. So, I decided to make some of these dishes at home. Last night, after I prepared veggie burgers, my daughter flat-out refused to even try them saying, “I don’t like that stuff. I want the ones from the store. They taste better!”  She had a friend over who stood there in disbelief and nudged her with her elbow saying, “cut the attitude and be happy that your mom is even cooking for you.” Of course, I was more than happy to let her friend try it and she liked it so much that I let her take the whole batch home. Later that night when my daughter got hungry, she wanted to try one, but they were all gone. This was just one example of her day-to-day attitude depicting her lack of gratitude. I was fed up with it.

    I grew up in a low-income and relatively poor family. Food was scarce and I had four sets of clothes, three of which I used during the week and a ‘fancy’ outfit that I would only wear on special occasions. We didn’t have a lot but I always felt like I had most of what I needed. We worked hard for what little we did have and believe me – we took very good care of our things. Otherwise, we weren’t getting another one any time soon.

    I always promised myself that I would work hard and do well enough to give my children a better life which, for the most part, I’ve been fortunate enough to do. That’s why it pains me to see how my success has led to some of my children turning out completely spoiled. We don’t live extravagantly but they generally get what they want. Plus, they never have to worry about their basic needs being met such as food, clothing, shelter, etc. Therefore, their mind frame of reality is totally different than how I grew up. I’m okay with that and am happy that I can give them more opportunities than what I had. However, somehow it has manifested into them taking things for granted and developing a huge sense of entitlement.

    I’m happy to do things for my children and all I’m asking for in return is a little appreciation. Showing appreciation isn’t just about getting a hug or hearing someone say, ‘Thank you!’ That’s nice, but it’s more about demonstrating their appreciation for sacrifices we’ve made by helping out around the house, taking care of their possessions and showing respect. That way I’d know that they’re not taking me for granted which, in turn, would make me want to do more for them. Everyone can show gratitude regardless of their mood, mental health or physical limitations.

    So, how do you correct them when they start showing signs of taking your kindness, dedication and generosity for granted? The solution is simple! Just take it away and give it to someone else who will appreciate it. I’m not just talking about materialistic items but non-tangible items, like your time and knowledge, as well. Believe me, a lot of people out there are deserving and will be more than grateful for what you have to offer.  It works for adults as well as children. Once everything you do for them is gone, they’ll quickly learn to appreciate what you do!