I’m five years old, at home in London, and I’m waiting for my much older siblings to come home from Switzerland – the land of the most delicious chocolate in the world. And I have butterflies in my tummy because I can’t wait to find out whether they’re going to be bringing me milk chocolate or that incredible stuff, white chocolate, or the crunchy nut chocolate…
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Finally, they arrive. We all gather in the hall, my sister hands over a packet and I open it.
It’s not chocolate. It’s a plain brown hair clip!
I look up and ask, “Is that all?”
And that’s when it comes.
That’s when the torrent comes down of disapproval, of scorn, of laughter, of, “Aren’t you grateful? How about a thank you?”
And I just feel so small, so completely wrong. In fact, I feel ashamed.
And what do I learn from this? What I learn is that it’s dangerous to express what I’m feeling. I don’t actually learn to be more appreciative. That’s the funny thing.
So, fast forward quite a number of decades, and a mum comes to me. And one of the things she’s struggling with, with her two boys who are six and eight, is that they don’t appreciate all the good things in their life.
They’re not grateful for all the wonderful things that they enjoy day to day.
And she’s been telling them to be more appreciative but it’s not working. So, this is what I advise her to do.
I say, “Appreciate your boys. Be grateful for the little things – the cheeky grins for example – and appreciate their point of view, even when they’re grumbling, even when they’re moaning or bickering,” which is what was happening.
And, my goodness, the change in that family after a number of weeks…
The boys softened – they became more responsive, more willing and more appreciative. We all need appreciation, don’t we?
I really appreciate you for reading this article. And, I have a question for you.
Would you like your parenting experience to feel easier – to feel kinder perhaps – and, above all, to feel more effective?
If the answer to that is yes, then let’s talk. I’d love to speak with you.
Every month I make a few free calls available. They’re called Happier Way Forward sessions.
For 45 minutes, we sit together and talk through everything that’s coming up for you that feels like a struggle – that feels challenging – and you get my listening ear and my expert view.
If that sounds like a supportive next step for you, go to my Let’s Talk page and pick a date and time.
I look forward to speaking with you.
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