7-9 YEARS OLD

It’s not that he is un­ap­pre­cia­tive; it’s just that he is un­aware of any other way of life, says DR RICHARD C. WOOLF­SON.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - Contents -

You’ve worked hard to pro­vide for your tween, so can’t he be more ap­pre­cia­tive? Here’s what you should un­der­stand rst.

Your nine-year-old’s life is in­ter­est­ing, ex­cit­ing and stim­u­lat­ing, with by a host of ma­te­rial com­forts that you never had at the same age. You are de­lighted his life is good and healthy, but you feel he should be more grate­ful – af­ter all, you have had to work hard to pro­vide for him.

It’s cru­cial to be re­al­is­tic. Com­par­ing your child­hood with what you see to­day shows you clearly how much things have changed for the (hope­fully) bet­ter. For in­stance, your mem­ory of the lim­ited op­tions in toys when you were a child helps you ap­pre­ci­ate how much fam­ily life has im­proved.

But your kid knows only what he has ex­pe­ri­enced him­self. So it’s not sur­pris­ing he takes his new shoes, new tablet, and all those car trips for granted, be­cause these have al­ways been part of his life. Here’s how to im­prove your child’s ap­pre­ci­a­tion of good things in his life, with­out mak­ing him feel guilty:

Say “thank you”

Teach him to ex­press grat­i­tude when­ever he re­ceives a gift, help or a new toy, as it is an ac­knowl­edge­ment that the act was spe­cial and im­por­tant.

Help oth­ers

Make sure he en­gages in ac­tiv­i­ties such as char­ity and projects that sup­port the needy. It boosts his ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the good life he leads.

Do­nate some of his al­lowance

Dis­cuss about giv­ing, say, 10 per cent of his weekly al­lowance to char­ity. Talk to him about dif­fer­ent

char­i­ties and let him choose one he wants to sup­port. Even bet­ter, have him drop his own money into the col­lec­tion box.

Use “ap­pre­cia­tive” lan­guage

Choose the right words. For in­stance, say: “Look at that fan­tas­tic rain­bow, it’s so colour­ful”, or “I’m so glad we can chat to­gether like this.” Ar­tic­u­lat­ing your ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the small things in life en­ables him to recog­nise that these are won­der­ful.

Have “no-spend” days You don’t have to spend money ev­ery time you are out – a walk to­gether in the neigh­bour­hood park costs noth­ing and you can pack drinks and snacks from home. He learns to have fun with­out spend­ing a vast amount of money.

Pre­pare to say “no”

You en­joy buy­ing him things be­cause it makes him happy. But if you refuse oc­ca­sion­ally, he’ll start to ap­pre­ci­ate those times when you do even more. Don’t be afraid to turn him down – you can’t af­ford to buy him ev­ery­thing he wants.

You don’t have to spend money ev­ery time you are out – a walk to­gether in the neigh­bour­hood park costs noth­ing.

As­sume slow progress Ju­nior won’t sud­denly be­come more ap­pre­cia­tive. It takes time, so be pa­tient with him.

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