“My child is so ungrateful.”
“Why can’t he ever appreciate anything?”
“She has no consideration for anyone but herself.”
Gratitude isn’t something to be taught but to be experienced. I’m coming to understand that gratitude is hard to come by without love. It’s hard to feel gratitude or consideration for others when one feels unloved or unlovable. As Mr. Rogers said, “All anyone wants is to feel loved and know they are capable of loving.”
Love must involve feeling unconditionally accepted for who you are. That is the work for all parents. Once you can accept your child for who he is—that means not sending the message you wish he were different, she was more like her sister, he can’t meet up to your expectations, there’s something wrong with her—you never need worry about whether this child will be grateful or considerate of others. It doesn’t mean accepting behavior. It does mean accepting that this child at this moment in time is behaving this way because she can’t help it—because she is having a problem.