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Psychologist explains why you shouldn’t force your kids to say thank you

With holidays come celebrations and with celebrations come gifts. Most kids feel obligated to say thank you but one psychologist explains why they shouldn't feel so.

Psychologist explains why you shouldn’t force your kids to say thank you
Cover Image Source: Instagram | @drbeckyatgoodinside

The holiday season is here with fun, frolic, and gifts. We all know that picking gifts is difficult, but getting your child to behave properly and in a way that doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings can be even more challenging for parents. Your kid might not know how to react or simply doesn’t like the gift they’ve received. All these might be why your kid doesn’t want to say "thank you" or simply forgets to say it. Most of us consider this rude and push kids to say thank you. Dr. Becky Kennedy, psychologist and host of the podcast "Good Inside" believes parents shouldn’t do that. In a recent Instagram video, she shared useful advice on how can parents teach their kids gratitude without forcing it. The sole purpose of the reel is to help parents navigate the tricky situation without shaming or forcing the kid, which according to the psychologist never helps in the long run. 

Image Source: Instagram | @drbeckyatgoodinside
Image Source: Instagram | @drbeckyatgoodinside

She starts the reel by saying, “I want to give permission to all of us parents to not get into a power struggle with our kids when they forget to say thank you to a family member for a gift they receive at the holidays.” This may make you wonder if you’re supposed to let it pass when your kid doesn’t show gratitude or if it means that manners are not important. Dr. Becky continues by saying that she thinks manners are really important but instead of forcing your kid in front of friends and family, you can make them say thank you by preparing in advance. According to the psychologist manners and gratitude are feelings that cannot be felt through reminders or instilled under shame and pressure. Instead, she shares three methods one can use to teach their child gratitude in a truly effective way.

Image Source: Instagram | @drbeckyatgoodinside
Image Source: Instagram | @drbeckyatgoodinside

Dr. Becky says, “Say to your kid, ‘Hey I think people are gonna give you gifts, how might you respond, wanna practice?’” Alternatively, you can also say, "Hey, hmm, sometimes it’s tricky to say thank you to someone for a gift you don’t even like huh, I guess we can do both, we can not really love a gift and still say thank you, because it’s so nice someone thought of us." The psychologist concludes by saying, “If the thank you still doesn’t happen, model it, ‘Hmm, thank you so much, Tommy loves his present. Thank you so much, you know that Raj loves puzzles, and you got him one, that’s so nice.'" According to Dr. Kennedy, all of these methods can help your child develop gratitude naturally and without reminders.

Image Source: Instagram | @drbeckyatgoodinside
Image Source: Instagram | @drbeckyatgoodinside

People agreed to the advice and shared their own experiences with holiday gift-giving. Instagram user @ingridmsmith wrote, “One year my four-year-old son opened a gift, looked at it and said, 'Well this isn’t what I always wanted!' Needless to say, we did some gratitude practicing before the next gift-giving season began. We also have a funny line that gets repeated every year.” @angela.s.stone who has a toddler with ASD shared, "We modeled thank you at two different points but he didn't say it. A couple of days later while playing with his grandma and the toy he burst out with 'Thank you, Nana, thank you' and a big hug." All the parents in the comments section found Dr. Kennedy's advice super useful for navigating the gift-giving season.

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A post shared by Dr. Becky Kennedy | Parenting (@drbeckyatgoodinside)


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