I'm a parenting expert – how to deal with ungrateful kids this Christmas and the key phrases that never fail | The Sun

THE festive season is a magical time of year for children – and there's no mistaking that a lot of the time this is due to the presents and attention they receive.

But as any parent will know, there's nothing more frustrating (and cringe-worthy!) than seeing your child act ungrateful – especially when it's in front of friends and relatives.

Well, the good news is, there are several things you can do to teach your child to be more appreciative this Christmas.

Here, parenting expert Hannah Love reveals her top tips, and the best phrases for parents to use…

Be a role model

Hannah, who runs a free parenting community, warns that if you're materialistic, it's likely to rub off on your child.

"When you talk about Christmas, focus on the importance of seeing friends and family, making others smile, playing games and making memories," she explains.


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"If you have less focus on the materialistic side, your little one will, too."

She goes on to say that similarly, when you receive gifts, no matter how small, ensure your response is loving and kind.

"If your little one sees you on your birthday opening 'the wrong' perfume and moaning, then they'll think it's OK for them to do the same too," Hannah adds.

Teach empathy

The parenting expert says it's important for parents to help their child understand how others feel.

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"From around two-years-old your toddler should be able to understand how others feel – even if they don’t feel the same way themselves," she explains.

"This is vital when they get a present they don’t like."

The parenting whizz then offers a good example of what to say: "Auntie Sam will be so excited to be giving you a present.

"I'm sure she's spent a lot of time and thought on what to get you and she can’t wait to see you open it."

Hannah explains: "If you can help your little one to understand how the buyer feels before they open it, they'll be much more likely to give a positive response – even when they might be a little disappointed."

Teach the feeling of giving

The parenting guru says: "In our family all of the children buy each other, and us, a small present.

"They get so excited about going out and buying, wrapping and then giving their individual gifts."

She continues: "This also teaches empathy as they realise how it'd feel if others weren’t grateful for the presents they're giving."

The parenting pro highlights how wonderful it is to see their happy, smiling and excited faces as they hand over gifts to each other on Christmas morning.

"You'll soon see how much they love the feeling of giving," says Hannah.

"I'm often given a surprise gift or picked flower from the children who have a huge smile on their faces because they're bursting with pride over their actions."

Talk to them about how being ungrateful makes others feel

"Often comments made by children are completely unintentional," Hannah explains. "If they know how their comments might affect others then they'd be much less likely to make them."

She goes on to say how you can do this by putting them in the other person's shoes and asking them: “How would it make you feel if you did something special for me, and I said I didn’t like it?”

Hannah continues: "Once they appreciate how their actions affect others, they'll be much more understanding and less likely to react in an ungrateful way."

Be honest with your children

Hannah also highlights the importance of telling your child when they're being ungrateful, but warns this should be done without the use of insulting language.

For example, she notes that parents should steer clear of phrases such as: “Stop being a spoilt brat”.

Instead, she advises saying: “When you complain about what someone has bought you, it really hurts them."

Hannah notes that you can also validate their feelings but still let them know their response wasn't kind.

She offers the perfect example of what to say : "I understand you were disappointed as Spider Man isn’t your favourite character.

"But, saying you wanted Bat Man will make Phil feel sad, when he has gone to the effort of buying you a lovely present."

However, she warns against saying: "You were horrible to Phil when he gave you your present."

Hannah explains: "The latter doesn’t explain any reason why, and contains no learning for next time."

Use the opportunity to teach kindness

Finally, the parenting pro explains that if your child receives an unwanted gift, you can teach them kindness by donating it to another child who would love to receive it.

"This act also teaches them that some children don’t get as much as they do and can help to make them feel more grateful in the future," she says.

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