Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Research Wednesday: Gratitude Makes for Happier Kids!

I recently came across some research from California State University that made me think about ways to make my kids more grateful.

The fascinating 4-year study found that teens who were grateful were less likely to be depressed or delinquent. The study started when the kids were 10 and went through age 14.  Kids didn't have to start off grateful. They just had to become grateful over the course of the
study to recognize benefits.

“They experienced many of the same improvements in well-being. Moreover, they showed slight reductions overall in delinquency, such as alcohol and drug use, cheating on exams, skipping school, detention and administrative discipline,” said Giacomo Bono, a CSU psychology professor and lead author of the study. “For instance, the top 10 percent of those who developed the most gratitude showed 9 percent less delinquency than the bottom 10 percent in gratitude growth.”

The study found that children who were grateful were15 percent more satisfied with their life overall (at home, at school, with their neighborhood, with their friends and with themselves); and 17 percent more happy and more hopeful about their lives.

To me, this is great news. I just have to figure out how to instill gratefulness in my children, because that is the one area where I feel they struggle. They seem to just expect things to happen and not be that happy for them. I'd like them to be more grateful. I hope it starts with setting a more grateful example, which I am definitely going to strive to do.

The study author, Bono, added: "These findings suggest that gratitude may be strongly linked with life-skills such as cooperation, purpose, creativity and persistence and, as such, gratitude is vital resource that parents, teachers and others who work with young people should help youth build up as they grow up. More gratitude may be precisely what our society needs to raise a generation that is ready to make a difference in the world.”

I totally agree.  More details of the study are online here:
http://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/2012/08/health-benefits.aspx

Anyone out there got tips for raising grateful kids?

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