Gratitude: How Counting Your Blessings Will Make You a Happier Parent

Gratitude: How Counting Your Blessings Will Make You a Happier Parent

For a long time in my life I would hear that I should be grateful for what I had and would even make myself wrong when I wasn’t more grateful for what I did have. I knew that compared to so many in the world I had so much, and yet knowing that made no difference in my experience of my life.  Everywhere I looked all I could see was where things in my life weren’t quite where I wanted them to be. I was frequently dissatisfied with my career, finances, kids, my home, and the thing I was most dissatisfied with was me! I was not good enough, and so everywhere in my life that is all I ever said. For the longest time, I didn’t get the impact of that on my loved ones. One day I asked my youngest son what it was like being raised by a mother who was never good enough? He had the courage to share with me that it felt like there was no point in doing anything, because no matter what he did or didn’t do I was never going to be happy. 

After some tough love coaching from my mentor, and really getting the impact of me hanging onto my belief that I was unworthy and not enough on those I love as well as my life, I chose to take the coaching and slowly over time, shifted my mindset. One of the practices I took on was starting each day with three things I was grateful for.  At the beginning, there were days all I could express gratitude for was the food on my table, the roof over my head, and that I was alive. As time went on, and I kept at it, I grew more and more able to see the abundance of people, things, experiences I had in my life to be grateful for. 

Developing your capacity for gratitude will not only make a huge difference for you, it will also alter your relationship with your children.  They will grow to be people who appreciate what they have, instead of always focusing on what they don’t have, or what could be better. They will stop comparing themselves to their friends, as you stop comparing yourself to other parents, or societal norms on what it is to be a good parent. (Check out the blog on Parenting Beyond Your Concerns for more information on this)

Much research has been done on the benefits of developing a regular practice of gratitude on our emotional, social, personal,  and career success.  They include: 

  • Increase in happiness
  • Increases psychological well being
  • Strengthens family relationships in times of stress
  • Makes us more optimistic
  • Makes us more giving/Indicates a reduction in materialism
  • Reduces impatience and improves decision-making

So, if you want to develop an attitude of gratitude what steps can you take?

  • Start and end each day writing in a journal three things you are grateful for
  • Read Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach
  • Practice mindfulness and develop a meditation practice
  • Share what you’re thankful for everyday with those around you
  • Write a letter to an old friend, or mentor and express your gratitude to them

Whatever actions you take, small steps everyday will have a significant difference in all areas of your life, and improve all your relationships, especially your relationship with your children.  If you want to transform this even faster, do the practice with your children and have it be a family activity to start and end every day being present to everything you have in your life to be grateful for. 

With love,

Amber Howard

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