Reflections! Ungrateful Teenagers
By William L. Bulla
"Is there an ungrateful teenager in your house?"
I happen to know of several homes, of some of my friends, where their teenage children are very ungrateful of what they have. They expect to have, at their young age, what it has taken their parents many years to achieve.
An Associated Press article written by Beth J. Harpaz addressed this issue of teens being ungrateful.
What she revealed in her article, after many interviews with families, indicated numerous families felt they had teenagers in their homes that were ungrateful for the many benefits they received.
Her article indicated many families felt they had created "monsters" by having raised a generation of kids who take everything for granted.
As part of my research on this topic, I discovered a very interesting book written by Dr. Michele Borba. Her insights, as revealed in her Big Book of Parenting Solutions, discusses the signs and symptoms of an ungrateful child.
These issues include:
Bad manners: needs constant reminders to say thank you or show his appreciation.
Envy: wants what others have, envies others' possessions
Lack of appreciation: takes for granted your daily kind and thoughtful gestures
Huge sense of entitlement: feels he deserves to have luxuries or privileges
Dissatisfaction: always seems to want "more," better," or "new"
Materialism: values only material things, brand names, or the "latest"
Self-centeredness: is unwilling to reciprocate with gifts or kind acts to others
Ungraciousness: acts disappointed with presents, blurts out "I didn't want this"
Thoughtlessness: doesn't consider other person's feelings
Do you detect any of these indicators in the teenagers living in your house? It so, you need to take action immediately to correct them.
Most parents have, at one time or another, become frustrated with a child who is less than appreciative of everything that its parents does for him. If you have young kids, you can forget about being genuinely appreciated for all that you do simply because children have no way of knowing just how impossible their lives would be without the caring hand of parents.
On the subject of ungrateful children, William Shakespeare really nailed it when he wrote, "Ingratitude! Thou marble-hearted fiend, more hideous when thou show'st thee in a child than the sea-monster!" Or as any parent might fuss about on a particularly trying day: "I do everything for my child, and she's still ungrateful!"
For those of us who worry that today's children appear grateful for nothing and entitled to everything - despite all that we do for them - grownups would do well to take note and take heart. Researchers in the relatively new field of gratitude studies are finding that thankfulness can indeed be nurtured and taught.
There are so many things to consider on this topic. Do you think children are ungrateful? Do you think it has to do with age? Is gratefulness something inherent, or is it taught by parents and peers? And, the biggest question in my mind is, has the economic and/or environmental crisis affected the children of struggling parents positively?
What's your opinion?
William L. Bulla is a freelance writer residing in Washington County.