Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch #BookReview

If you're a parent reading this, then you may have already experienced the "but, all my friends have one" line from your child. For now I'm in the clear since my little one is still a toddler, but I do think about the day when he could, perhaps, utter those very same words to me. Will he or won't he? Only time will tell. This is why I truly believe it's never too early to start teaching children the importance of being grateful and appreciating what they have. It's all about finding that perfect balance of giving, but not spoiling. Kristen Welch offers wonderful insights to this topic in her book Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World.

“But everyone else has it.” “If you loved me, you’d get it for me!” When you hear these comments from your kids, it can be tough not to cave. You love your children—don’t you want them to be happy and to fit in?

Kristen Welch knows firsthand it’s not that easy. In fact, she’s found out that when you say yes too often, it’s not only hard on your peace of mind and your wallet—it actually puts your kids at long-term risk. In Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Kristen shares the ups and downs in her own family’s journey of discovering why it’s healthiest not to give their kids everything. Teaching them the difference between “want” and “need” is the first step in the right direction. With many practical tips and anecdotes, she shares how to help kids become hardworking, fulfilled, and successful adults.

It’s never too late to raise grateful kids. Get ready to cultivate a spirit of genuine appreciation in your family and create a home in which your kids don’t just say—but mean!—“thank you” for everything they have.

Kristen Welch grew up in a suburb of Houston, Texas. In the 1990s she attended a small Bible college, where she met her husband and graduated with degrees in Christian education and English. For the first ten years of marriage, she worked alongside her pastor-husband in youth and children's ministry in Arkansas, New Mexico, and Florida, often writing her own curriculum and resources. During this decade, she endured the ups and downs of life. It wasn't until she became a busy mother of three that she began to blog about her life on wearethatfamily.com. Over the years, Kristen has grown a vast following of moms who identify with her real, often funny, and always inspiring writing.

In 2010, Kristen traveled with Compassion International to Kenya on a blogging trip to write about poverty in a huge slum. That experience turned her world upside down, and as a result, she and her family founded a non-profit called Mercy House Kenya. The organization funds a residential maternity center, operated by indigenous staff, that offers hope and a home to pregnant teens living in extreme poverty.

In 2011, Kristen wrote her first book, a devotional for moms called Don't Make Me Come Up There! She is also one of Dayspring's (in)Courage writers, a frequent speaker, and a regular contributor to Lifeway's HomeLife and ParentLife magazines.

From the title, you might be thinking that Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World is another one of those typical parenting "self-help" books. While it's definitely helpful, I can assure you that this book is much more than that. Welch does offer an abundance of guidance on the topic at hand, but she does so by humbly recounting her own personal family experiences and how she handled those moments of both good and not so good.

One of the chapters that really resonated with me was Chapter 5, Making Smart Choices about Technology. This is a topic that I feel quite strongly about. As a blogger, technology is a big part of my life, so by no means am I against it. From communicating with loved ones around the world to doing simple research, the internet has become a most valuable asset in today's society. It can, however, be a gateway for a lot of inappropriate and immoral things. Smartphones only make it easier for young ones to be exposed to these things. I really appreciated how the author shared her views on the topic, and how she refused to conform with the standards of letting her own children acquire a smartphone at such a young age, regardless if they were the only ones in class without one. As her children got older, she and her husband set up a mobile phone contract (she even added her template in the back of the book), which is brilliant! Internet monitoring, password protection – these are all great ways to be proactive about our children's technology usage. After reading this chapter, I was beyond pleased to know that I'm not the only parent who feels this way. 

Christmas is this week, and there's no better time to think about the topic of being thankful. Of course there absolutely nothing wrong with gift giving or finding a good deal on a shopping trip (those who have been following my blog, already know that I enjoy a good sale!). The point is remembering why we are here and what truly matters. As a parent, I have the important duty of instilling values such as  appreciation, gratitude and hard work to my little one, so that he can flourish and grow up to be a successful adult. For me, the goal is creating a "Jesus-centered" home, and that is why I really appreciated Kristen Welch's authentic and insightful words in Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World. I highly recommend this book for parents (even grandparents) of children of all ages!