Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Review: Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World

We've all been there, fellow parents. We have experienced that moment when we bent over backwards, trying to do the things our kids wanted to do on that particular day. We have let our own to-do lists and priorities fall by the wayside to go to the pool or the movies or cook macaroni and cheese yet again. And then? They complain. Then they ask for even more. And the parental blood starts to boil just a bit (or a lot). How do we teach our kids to be thankful in a world that teaches them to constantly be seeking bigger, better, and more?

Meet Kristen Welch. She is a mother of three children. She and her husband also founded Mercy House, a nonprofit that helps impoverished pregnant women living in Kenya. The disparity between the desperate needs of women she worked with and the unending wants of her own children led her to write this book. She opens the book by recounting the time when she and her husband took back a pair of very expensive boots they had purchased for their ungrateful child (they live in Texas, by the way). They gave that child a choice to either work a difficult and time-consuming task to earn them back or they would be returned. American culture seems to suggest that our children deserve everything that they desire with no need to earn it. We as their parents should be buying them the latest everything and dedicating every moment of our time to drive them to all of their activities. But in Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Welch suggests a different path.

This is the moment where I should mention that Kristen and her family are Christians and a good amount of what she writes is through the lens of her faith. However, I think that the suggestions that she makes are applicable to families of any religious background. She writes about our impulse to give into our children's desires because it makes our life easier, or we want our children to be successful or included. She challenges readers (and herself) to worry less about making our children happy and more about preparing them for life and its inevitable disappointments. When we center our home lives around our children all the time, we do a disservice to our marriages, our families, and our children's perceptions of themselves and the world around them.

This book is easy to read and there are steps that you can take yourself and with your children at the end of each chapter. In the introduction, Kristen writes that she is not a professional. She still has days herself where she is ungrateful and she is still working with her children each day. But she is on the road to cultivating a family that recognizes the gifts that they have instead of focusing on the desires that are still unfulfilled.

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World:
How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life's Biggest Yes
By Kristen Welch
Tynedale Momentum January 2016
272 pages
Read via Netgalley


  1. I love the approach to parenting which the author of this book is taking, and I mean this in a non judgemental way, but I feel like many parents could take a leaf out of this book.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Lindsey :-)

    1. Yes, indeed. It's so frustrating to have your eight year old tell you that some of his classmates already have a cell phone. Why?!?!

  2. I think we all need to read this!

    1. Right? I loved that she gives steps for parents (or adults) to take in each chapter too. How can our kids live grateful lives if we aren't modeling that?