This may be the easiest post I ever wrote. You want eight reasons why your child doesn't write thank-you notes? Here you go:
1. You don't make him.
My son recently became a Bar Mitzvah. About 150 people attended his service and party and many gave gifts. When the big day wound down (well past midnight), the only one with an ounce of energy left was my son. "Let's open the presents!" he insisted. And so we did, carefully writing down who gave what.
And then I delivered the blow: No check would be deposited, no Game Stop gift card used, no cash spent until that gift's giver was properly thanked. My son grabbed a pen and began his thank you notes that night. I will note that the Game Stop and iTunes gift cards may have been acknowledged first, but he did get them all done within a week. Nothing like watching your bank account grow each day as an incentive.
2. You still don't make him.
A mom I know calls what she did a "compromise" on the thank-you-notes thing. She had thank-you notes professionally printed and her son signed them. Sorry friend, but that doesn't count. Thank-you notes need to be personalized. They should mention the gift and if it's cash, how the money will be used. No, it still doesn't count even if they matched the party invitations.
3. You don't send out thank-you notes yourself.
Role-modeling can be a bitch sometimes, can't it? Thanking people for being kind is central to good manners and relationships. Showing appreciation and gratitude that someone gave you a gift is crucial. Get out of your cave and start thanking people, if for no other reason than your children should be doing it. If you don't, they won't.
4. Thank-you notes can't be texted.
They also really can't be emailed although for small stuff, you have my permission to do so. "Thank you for picking my kid up after school today when I couldn't get there" is email-able. "Thank you for traveling 3,000 miles to organize my 50th surprise birthday party" is a hand-written note put in the mail with a stamp on it. It may even be flowers sent the next morning.
5. Other kids are not writing thank-you notes.
Seriously? So you want your kid to be a lemming? Remember when our parents used to say, "If Johnny jumped off a cliff, would you jump off a cliff?" This is exactly the cliff they were talking about.
6. Your kids are super busy and don't really have time.
Of course they are super busy; they are super busy playing with those new Xbox games they were just gifted and shopping for clothes with the money Grandpa sent for their birthday. If they have time to spend or use the gifts they get, they have time to acknowledge them.
7. When Grandma gets the cancelled check, she'll know the kids got it.
Do banks even send out monthly cancelled checks anymore? More importantly, Grandma isn't looking for a receipt for her records. She's looking for an acknowledgement that her grandkids appreciated her gift. Heck, she's looking for a card with an adorable message scribbled in their handwriting that she can tape to her refrigerator door. She might even be looking for a phone call where she can hear for herself how excited they were to get her check. She's looking for something that doesn't leave her feeling like an ATM machine.
8. You don't make him.
You're 100 percent right. We already said that you don't make him. What's your question?
Trying to find out the root cause behind a defiant teen's rebellion is a great step in a positive direction. Your teen may be having problems with a friend, a girlfriend/boyfriend or a teacher and misdirecting their emotions at you. Try talking with them about what could be causing the behavior.
Teenagers who are involved in activities tend to have a more positive outlook and stay out of trouble at a larger rate than those who aren't.
It's easy for parents to get caught up in issues relating to work, finances and the day-to-day hassles of managing a family. It's important, however, to remember to spend quality time with your child a have meaningful conversations. Teens often act out when they feel they're being ignored.
As a parent, it's not uncommon to be at odds with your child. But it's important to make distinctions between those battles that are worth fighting and those that could be best described as vehicles for general contention. Ask yourself, is this argument necessary or can it be put aside?
Despite what your teen may say, they do not prefer dealing with their issues alone. Making a consistent effort to talk to your teen and listen to what they have to say -- offering advice only when appropriate -- can go a long way toward showing them that you're teammates and not opponents
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