Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life's Biggest Yes

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life's Biggest Yes

by Kristen Welch


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781496405296
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 01/26/2016
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 113,741
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Kristen Welch, the author of Don't Make Me Come Up There! and Rhinestone Jesus, is a busy mother of three who blogs about her life at wearethatfamily.com. She is also one of Dayspring's (in)courage writers, a frequent speaker, and a regular contributor to Lifeway's HomeLife and ParentLife magazines. Kristen lives in Texas.

Meredith Mitchell is an actress who has performed in film, in television, and on stage. Her film work includes Mona Lisa Smile and The Reunion. She has recorded numerous audiobooks, and she earned her MFA in acting from Brandeis University.

Read an Excerpt

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World

How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead To Life's Biggest Yes


Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Copyright © 2015 Kristen Welch
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4964-0529-6



In one of comedian Jim Gaffigan's stand-up routines, he describes how we act when we first arrive at a hotel. We walk into the lobby and exclaim, "Wow, this place is amazing!" We find our room, take a good look around, and we love it. By day two, with unmade beds and suitcases strewn across the floor, the mystique begins to wear off. Suddenly, we look around and say, "This place is a dump." When we return from a day of fun and the housekeeping staff hasn't had a chance to clean up our mess, we are outraged. "There's a wet towel still on the bathroom floor! How could they? I'm calling to complain!"

Gaffigan's audience explodes with laughter because it's funny. But the problem is, it's also true — and maybe that's not so funny, especially when our kids are standing next to us in the hotel room, listening to our indignant attitude. It's startling how quickly our gratitude turns into ingratitude.

But, we reason, if we've paid our hard-earned money, shouldn't we be guaranteed a good night's stay with impeccable service? We are entitled to at least that. They owe us, right?

If we look closer, we can see that this same attitude pervades not only our culture, but also our homes. We often buy things not so much because we need them, but because we feel like we deserve them. We work hard; we owe it to ourselves. It's so easy to get wrapped up in this way of thinking.

I'm guilty too.

We've been in our current home for two years. I've grown tired of the builder's drab beige walls, and I started toying with the idea of painting. But with neck and back issues of my own and a husband who loathes painting projects, I knew the only way to get it done was to hire someone. Terrell agreed it would be a great improvement, but he suggested we should wait since he was transitioning out of his corporate job into the role of CEO of our small nonprofit. He was being cautious about our finances.

I was immediately indignant. Wait? I have waited. And then I began to go down the list of my self-sacrifice and service, the reasons I deserved this home makeover. Terrell smiled and said, "You sort of sound entitled right now." Oh. That comment took the wind out of my sails. And honestly, it hurt my feelings because he was right.

We don't want to wait. Here in the United States, we live in a fast-paced, convenience-driven, impatient culture. Some might even say this is the beauty of the American Dream — working hard so you get what you want in life, which has attracted countless immigrants to come here. And we are very, very good at it.


The term "American Dream" was first used by James Truslow Adams in 1931 in his book The Epic of America. There he described it as "a dream of social order in which each man and each woman shall be able to attain to the fullest stature of which they are innately capable."

But I've discovered that like many things in life, definitions change. A more current description of the American Dream is "an American social ideal that stresses egalitarianism and especially material prosperity." I asked my blog readers for their own perspective on the term and got dozens of responses, such as this one from Kim Frey:

Our grandparents probably viewed it as the ability to get out of poverty, to provide for loved ones, and to have a comfortable home, getting a strong basic education, having a good work ethic, and being content with what you have. ... I think the idea of the American Dream has become much more materialistic in the past few decades ... "Bigger, better, faster, and more" has defined it recently.

Reader Angela Sellman agreed and added this:

[The American Dream is] bigger, more. Newer is better. Everyone must have the newest gadget, cars, and fun fun fun at all times. Happiness all the time is the goal for everyone!

Or there's the definition Terrell heard on the radio years ago that he's never forgotten:

The American Dream is getting all you can. Canning all you can get. Sitting on the can so nobody can get what you can.

Has the dream changed? It seems to have morphed from a rags-to-riches, hard work ethic mentality to prosperity now. Or perhaps the dream is the same, but we have changed. I'm not sure the concept can be quantified, especially considering inflation, but I think we can all agree something has changed. The median income of Americans has dropped considerably since the beginning of the 2008 recession, but we're paying over 15 percent more for new cars.

And it's not just what we drive; houses have nearly tripled in size and families have gotten smaller. In 1950, the average house was 983 square feet, but by 2014 it had reached 2,598 square feet.

And growth like this isn't cheap. USA Today published a report in 2014 that put a price tag on the American Dream:

$130,000 a year, which includes a nice six-figure salary, luxury vacations, college savings, and retirement.

Our family signed up for that track when my husband landed his first corporate job, after nearly ten years in full-time ministry. We finally had a 401(k), dental insurance, and a ladder to climb up. We scraped our money together, packed up our rented 1,000-square-foot townhome, and couldn't believe the sellers had accepted our bottom-dollar offer on our dream house. We moved in mid-December and scrambled to put up a Charlie Brown Christmas tree, mostly for our two kids, who were two and four years old at the time. There were a few gifts scattered underneath the tree, but we all knew we'd really gotten a house for Christmas.

But within two years of living the dream in a house I loved at first sight, I began to see it in a completely different light. And the light glared brighter every time I visited someone else's house. Why hadn't I noticed how small our living room was or how badly the floors needed work? Over time, we began to update our home. We pulled down wallpaper, hired a painter, built a sprawling deck, added a couple of walls ... all great improvements and not bad in and of themselves. But somewhere along the way, I began referring to this house I had once dreamed of owning as our "starter home." What had once been more than enough eventually became not enough.

Every year Christmas got bigger and bigger in that house. We put up the biggest tree we could find in the front bay window and the thousand white lights that adorned it could be seen from the street. I spent a lot of time and money decorating nearly every room. I'll never forget the Christmas morning when my kids were six and four years old and there were piles of presents under the tree, dozens for each of them. I didn't feel it was excessive because I was an organized deal shopper and had gotten most of the toys on sale months before. I was as excited as my kids, and I couldn't wait to see their faces as they opened each gift in delight.

But it didn't really happen that way. It was a blur of grabbing and tearing into gifts, and within minutes the room looked like a tornado had ripped through it. I watched my kids go from one gift to another, hardly taking the time to even remove all the paper. With piles of opened gifts and still more to go, they actually seemed tired from the exertion of opening so many. We took a break and cleaned up for a bit before we started round two. There were some gasps of delight here and there, but with a room full of stuff, I don't think I've ever felt emptier.

I pushed the depressing thought away and encouraged my kids to say thank you. To my husband, I justified the piles of presents proudly, saying it was a debt-free Christmas. But the nagging feeling stayed with me the rest of the day. I realized what bothered me that morning wasn't just about having more stuff; it was about getting more stuff. And it was my problem, as much as my kids'. Maybe more.


I married my husband two weeks before Christmas in 1994. After a week honeymooning, we woke up on Christmas morning in our first apartment with dozens of wedding gifts to unwrap. It was just as romantic as it sounds. After a leisurely morning of opening presents we didn't pay for, we drove an hour to my parents' house to a feast we didn't have to prepare. We were the newlyweds, and we were special. By the next Christmas and our first anniversary, we lived hundreds of miles from home and it was my in-laws' turn to have us as Christmas guests.

I pitched a fit to my husband about it. I had never spent the holidays away from my family, and even though my husband missed his family as much as I missed mine, I acted like a spoiled brat. I whined and cried and finally gave in. We didn't have a lot of money, but I couldn't imagine not opening gifts on Christmas, so we saved $100 to spend on each other. I shopped and searched and I bought Terrell five gifts with the money.

On Christmas morning at his parents' house, the extended family opened their gifts to each other, but I didn't see any for me from my young husband. Meanwhile, he was opening his fourth one from me ... a used Rook game off eBay. (It seemed like a good idea at the time.)

The gifts were all opened and Terrell gave me a sly look. I was trying not to cry. He went over to the tree and pulled off a papier-mâché ornament. He opened the ball to reveal a beautiful pearl necklace inside. When he put it around my neck, I said thank you — and then I went to the bathroom and cried. I was so disappointed that I only had one gift from him under the tree.

Oh, boy. I had a lot to learn. I didn't just want something; I wanted more. And when I became a mom, this attitude spilled over into my early parenting. I wanted my kids to have more, the best. I wanted them to have it all, too.

My buy-in to the notion that I needed more of the best for myself and my kids didn't satisfy me. Its pursuit actually left me feeling emptier than when I had less. Things didn't begin to shift for me until a couple of years later, when I traveled to Kenya, Africa, with Compassion International as a blogger. It was there in one of the world's largest and poorest slums that I began to see my life and my own entitlement in light of how the rest of the world lived. It shook me to the core and flipped a switch inside me that made me stop and reevaluate what was happening. Entitlement didn't start with my kids. It began with me. I entitled them because I was entitled with kids, just like my family, only they didn't seem to be entitled to anything, not even enough food for the day or clean water to drink. I realized how small I was. I saw my glaring selfish tendencies and my spoiled nature, and I wanted to live differently.

That discovery led my family and me on a wild faith adventure of saying yes to God in seemingly impossible ways by helping girls and women trapped in a cycle of violence and poverty. Honestly, I wouldn't have chosen this road for my family — I am entirely too afraid and selfish. But I wouldn't change our journey for all the money in the world because it's given my family the valuable gift of perspective, which reveals our deep need for gratitude, no matter what we have or don't have.


I don't always know how to combat the struggle against entitlement in my life or home, but I need to try.

And as uncomfortable as it sounds, parents who want less-entitled kids have to be less entitled themselves, and parents who want to raise more grateful kids need to start by living more grateful lives.

As Americans, my family and I do have certain entitlements that are found in the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men."

Joshua Becker, author of the popular blog Becoming Minimalist, says,

As Americans, we are free to pursue our own happiness — however we decide to define it. ... And those of us who have chosen to define happiness and security apart from $250K mortgages and SUVs in the garage are free to do so. Because there are greater and more important pursuits available to us than material possessions.

When we pare down what we have a right to, besides what we've acquired through citizenship — which cost people their lives — the list is small. The gifts of salvation, grace, and forgiveness are free for the taking, but they weren't cheap. They cost Jesus His life.

Considering the issue as parents, what are our children entitled to? What exactly do we owe them? What is too much or not enough? Are they entitled to the latest technology, a new car at sixteen, or a fully paid college education? Some would say yes — these are the responsibilities that come with parenting.

One day in the car, my oldest, who was barely a tween at the time, overheard Terrell and me talking about Mercy House, our nonprofit ministry that funds a maternity home in Kenya. We were contemplating some pretty serious financial decisions for the future. It must have made her think because she asked me, "Mom, what is your plan for my college education?"

"Well, it went to Africa," I said, laughing. "I'm joking, but honestly, we don't have plans to foot the bill for four years of college, honey. You will get a college education if you want it and work hard for it. It will happen with a combination of scholarships, work study, local summer school, and your dad and I contributing what we can too."

Madison is a gifted flute player. Years before, at the advice of her school flute teacher, we bought Madison a professional flute, paying more money than we wanted to. The teacher urged us to invest in our daughter's musical gift even if we didn't have college figured out. Since the sixth grade, Madison has known that college scholarships are part of the plan. It has spurred on her love for music. But it's also been a tangible reminder that college is not a free ride in our house.

I believe Gary Chapman and Arlene Pellicane, coauthors of Growing Up Social, zero in on something that is inarguable.

The only thing a child is really entitled to is his parents' love. Not to keep up with the Joneses. Not a brand new bike or iPad. Just love. Every child deserves to be loved by his or her parents. If a child has your unconditional love, he has the greatest asset in the world. If we as parents can realize it's love that our children need most, and not things, we will stop trying to buy our children's happiness with possessions.

Whatever you choose to provide for your kids is really up to you. The answer will be different for every family. But when our kids begin to expect — even demand — more than our love, that's when we have a problem.

And it goes well beyond providing and pursuing material possessions. What our culture feels entitled to isn't just stuff. It's the desire to fit in, to feel good or happy all the time; it's the desire for instant gratification and the demand to receive something just because we want it, hard work optional.

One of my kids really struggled for a season with the idea of being happy all the time. This child is more of a pessimist by nature (and so much like me), and it became obvious that when my child didn't feel happy, we saw more negative behavior. It takes consistent teaching to remember we aren't owed happiness all the time. That's not our goal because God can use disappointments and even discouragement to draw us closer to Him. Contentment is our aim because it doesn't fluctuate with our circumstances.

In their book The Entitlement Trap, authors Richard and Linda Eyre pinpoint the growing problem.

Kids grow up in a reality-show world, thinking of themselves as the central character on the stage. They have a Facebook page, they are famous in their own minds, they are like rock stars, and to them there is no room (and no need) for true emotional empathy, or self-examination, or personal responsibility. Nor is there incentive or motivation to learn to work. And they think they are entitled not to have limits or boundaries or discipline.

Early on, we chose not to allow our kids to interact on social media until they entered high school. Even after they were allowed to open accounts, we didn't encourage it and monitored their involvement. I think our resistance impacted them, and they are selective about social media. But society is in the age of unbridled and often unmonitored technology. Sometimes it's because we parents are afraid to say no or we don't want our children to feel left out. But it doesn't take a rocket scientist to recognize that parenting has changed since we were kids.


Excerpted from Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by KRISTEN WELCH. Copyright © 2015 Kristen Welch. Excerpted by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

Part I Launch

Chapter 1 Wants vs. Needs 3

Chapter 2 Times Have Certainly Changed 21

Part II Undertow

Chapter 3 Seven Ways We Parents Miss the Boat (and How to Get on Board) 45

Chapter 4 The Selfie Society 67

Chapter 5 Making Smart Choices about Technology 87

Part III Resisting the Current

Chapter 6 Cultivating Obedience 111

Chapter 7 Living Out Gods Love in Your Home 129

Part IV White Water

Chapter 8 Gratitude Is a Choice 151

Chapter 9 Where the Rubber Meets the Road 171

Chapter 10 Dear Parents 197

Acknowledgments 217

Appendix A Cell Phone Contract between Parent and Child 221

Appendix B Christian Parent Manifesto 223

Appendix C Recommended Resources 225

Discussion Guide 227

Notes 235

About the Author 243

What People are Saying About This

Sarah Mae

Kristen’s words are so timely, and I am thankful for her hard-fought wisdom. I am all ears whenever Kristen writes because she just gets it, and it was no different with this book. If you’re looking for support and practical ideas on how to raise grateful kids in an increasingly entitled world, this book is a must-read.

Sally Clarkson

I absolutely love this book. Kristen unearths the heart issue of why many children are selfish and unaware of the needs of others. Her words engage, inspire, and instruct parents in raising emotionally strong, healthy children who are grateful in the important moments of life.

Gary Chapman

Rearing children in our contemporary culture is difficult, but rearing grateful children is even harder. In Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Kristen Welch gives solid practical advice. Grateful children become responsible adults. I highly recommend this book.

Angie Smith

I can’t think of anyone I would trust more than Kristen to teach on this topic. She’s made her entire life a testimony to doing this well, and everyone who reads this book will be inspired by her story, her heart, her wisdom, and her love of the Lord.

Crystal Paine

In this fast-paced, instant gratification culture, Kristen’s countercultural message of selflessness and gratitude is much needed! This book left me convicted, challenged, and encouraged, both personally and as a parent.

Ruth Schwenk

Parents today fight what seems like a never-ending battle against the current of the culture in raising our children. In Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Kristen not only inspires us to raise our children differently, but she teaches us how to actually live that out in our homes. So very practical and convicting. A must-read!

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Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life's Biggest Yes 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Teish_Knits More than 1 year ago
I've worked with the public since my first job delivering flowers. Though most people are nice enough to deal with, there are times that the tendency to entitlement in our society has been very apparent! I was always determined that I would raise kids who were appreciative rather than demanding. Fast forward a number of years and I'm a mom of 4. I'm in the trenches, and it's harder than I thought! Some of the things do seem like a no-brainer, like not giving your kids everything they want and having them learn the value of work. Of course, reading about some of the nitty-gritty details and really analyzing how well you are doing in that area is completely different! So don't skip a chapter because you think, "We've got this covered." There is a lot of good stuff to think about in this book. It's not a foolproof plan, and Kristen leaves room for each family to decide what is best for them. I appreciated that, since many parenting books take the stance, "Do it exactly our way or you are wrong." Interestingly enough, reading this book made me realize how much I tend to entitlement and ungratefulness myself! Ouch! Even if you think this isn't a problem for you or your family, this book is worth reading at least once. I'll bet that you'll come away with new ideas and maybe areas where you could do things a little better. Please Note: I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book has solid parenting advice with ideas to give your family a global and missional perspective. My favorite quote from the book is this, "Our family is at its best—our absolute best—when we are doing something for someone else. When our hands are busy serving others, we aren’t thinking about what we don’t have. Instead, we are thankful for what we do have." As a parent of a teenager, pre-teen, and toddler, the struggle to change expectations about what they are entitled to receive from me as a parent is an uphill battle. The American culture is excessive, but that is really the opposite of what brings true happiness. This book reminds you that helping your children to think of others is way more important than the quality or quantity of their physical possessions.
jenniferfox More than 1 year ago
Choosing to live a life of gratitude sure is harder than it sounds. Everywhere we go, everywhere we look, we are bombarded by our need more and need it now culture. Patience seems to be a rarity. Compassion is hard to come by. Gratefulness is a bit of a mystery. It’s so easy to be sucked into what society says about deserving more and better and it’s hard to step back and say “No. I already have all I need.” Kristen Welch, of We are THAT Family, gets it. Her book, Raising Grateful Kids in and Entitled World, launches on January 26. After reading just the first chapter, I knew this book was going to challenge me in some really uncomfortable ways. What I didn’t know when I started reading, was that the convictions I gained from the book would lead us to explore our entitlement as a family. I didn’t expect to implement new plans to combat that as quickly as we have. And I certainly never dreamed I would already see a difference in not only the kids, but the adults as well. Choosing gratefulness and fighting entitlement in our home is not an easy thing. It’s an important one, though, and it’s worth the struggle. Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World is an absolute must read for any parent (or any human!) who longs to live upstream and against our culture of entitlement.
Kishona More than 1 year ago
"Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World" is an encouraging and convicting book that will challenge how you parent your children, but even more so, it will cause you to examine your own heart and the ugly entitlement that might - possibly...maybe...probably - live there. Kristen shares from her experience and her heart about her triumphs and her own struggles in parenting, coming alongside to encourage the reader and say, "me, too," and not "you should always" or "you must." She confesses that she is still learning, but she freely gives from what she has already learned. While I love the many, many take-aways and quotables from this book, the true mark of a great book is when it makes a change in you and when you can easily apply its lessons to your life and in your family. This is one of those books! It is a must-read for every parent, grandparent, parent-to-be, and anyone who wants to help this next generation be more grateful and less entitled. *Thank you to Tyndale House Publishers for the advanced reader copy. My opinions and review are based solely on my enjoyment of the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I don't know when the last time I read a book that was simultaneously encouraging and convicting. Pride told me we have a pretty good handle on this, but wisdom showed me I still have a long ways to go. As a mother of 3 ranging from high school age-elementary age Kristen Welch offers practical advice, and personal experience, in helping parents who desire to intentionally fight entitlement in their homes. Without exaggeration I can truly say I believe EVERY family could benefit from the wisdom Kristen Welch shares in Raising Grateful Kids.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A definite game changer for our household. I received a copy of Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World from the publisher through the Tyndale Blog Network. All opinions are my own. I’m familiar with Kristen Welch from her blog We Are That Family. She’s written some amazing blog posts that have challenged me in my parenting, made me think about exactly why we do what we do in parenting and even in my own life outside of parenting and marriage. This book was a game changer for me. I’ve been feeling the effects of entitlement and ungratefulness in my own heart lately which is also showing up in my kids as well. Hearing from a mom in the trenches of motherhood herself who is not an expert but just like me, learning to shift the perspective in our hearts and homes. Shifting the perspective is costly, teaching gratitude and parenting upstream in this world is going to be difficult. “Gratitude in our convenient, gratification-filled, selfie obsessed, entitled society is a rarity. Choosing to lead our families against the flow of our culture will cost us.” It’s so easy when we live in a subdivision where all the houses are fairly similar, everyone drives nice cars, kids participate in sports, etc, to think that this is what the rest of the world lives like. I want my kids to see that not everyone has an iphone in 6th grade, that having to do chores is not the worst thing in the world while kids are digging through garbage dumps in other parts of the world. That “gross” meal I just made is more than some kids will get to eat this entire week. “If we see life through only one lens, we believe the misconception that everyone in the world has what we do, and our blessings start looking a lot like expectations.” This book equips you as a parent, in all stages and ages of your children. At the end of each chapter is a section called Going Against the Flow, which has tips, ideas, suggestions and conversation starters for parents, marriage, toddlers/preschoolers, elementary, tweens/teens on how to be countercultural. The back of the book also has a cell phone contract for Partents and Children along with a Christian Manifesto which is really awesome and I am going to be displaying in my home. She ends with a letter to Parents and these words may have been the most impactful, scary and encouraging things I have read in a long time. The following pages are probably the most important in this book, and yet they might be the hardest to read. We’ve made it to the last chapter, and it could be different from what you were expecting. Most books wrap everything up in a tidy package. But I can’t tie up these chapters neatly with a bow because parenting is messy. Oh, it’s also wonderful and the highest calling of our lives, but it’s probably one of the hardest things we will ever do. Here’s what you must know: If you go against the cultural flow and lead your family upstream, doing the things I’ve suggested, it’s completely possible that all hell will break loose in your home. Even with a big bow on it, that’s a difficult truth to swallow. There is so much more I could say about this book but I will let you discover all the wisdom and truth wrapped up in here. This is definitely a must read!
JenniferMcLucas More than 1 year ago
"When we have everything we are thankful for nothing. When we have nothing we are thankful for everything." Raising Grateful Kids was such a great parenting book! Being from a large family my kids are used to not getting everything they want when they want it and, for the most part, everyone is ok with that. But this book has been so eye opening! I see so many more things I can do to cause all of us to be more grateful for this amazing life we have- and it's not a celebration about things! I'm so grateful for Kristen Welch for shaking me out of my comfort zone and reminding me of the things that are most important. Raising Grateful Kids holds the answers to a world of Pinterest and Facebook perfection that leaves you feeling inadequate and wanting.
lbalchus More than 1 year ago
If you desire to parent against the flow, to raise your kids to be different from what our culture is telling them they must do or be, but you feel alone in the journey and struggle to know HOW, this is definitely the book for you! In Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Kristen Welch shares stories of her own parenting experiences right from the trenches. Her conversational, often humorous, writing style makes for an easy read, as she maps out how her family is going about swimming upstream from our entitled culture. I love how at the end of each chapter Kristen shares practical, applicable ideas, broken down by age group from preschoolers to teens, to help her readers implement the same strategies that have worked for her family. This book is a must-have parenting resource that you can refer to again and again for years to come! I highly recommend it! *Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World in exchange for my honest review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Lauren Londot More than 1 year ago
I have been a reader of Kristen Welch's blog, We Are That Family, for a few years so when I found out she would be releasing a book, I was interested to see what she would have to say regarding raising children from a Biblical worldview, especially since rearing kids in such a way is not as valued as it once was. Welch's book was very encouraging and I was thankful to have the chance to read it prior to the birth of my first child. What I think most readers will appreciate and relate to are the real life examples that Welch, a mother of three, includes throughout her book. She tells of instances in which she experienced her own children exhibiting attitudes of entitlement and how she and her husband handled those situations. Welch takes the approach that teaching kids to be grateful, versus entitled, begins in the home with the example that the parents set. Having worked in education for 9 years and experiencing how true this is, I found Welch's perspective to be most refreshing. What made it an interesting read for me is that Welch's book comprised of well known sources from the Christian world (Shepherding A Child's Heart, Counter Culture) and secular sources as well (Psychology Today, CNN). I have read solid, Biblically based books that typically include information from various resources, but it is always clear that these sources do not take precedent over Scripture. While I did find it interesting to see what people are thinking/believing outside of the Christian realm, I would encourage my readers to always go to Scripture as the most reliable source for raising children, cultivating hearts of gratitude and and overall, addressing heart issues. I don't think that their is zero validity to "outside sources" but I would caution you to test them against Scripture as you read them. I believe Welch would do the same but I didn't feel that sentiment clearly stated in the book. However, I still enjoyed reading about how she, personally, has dealt with various issues that come with raising children and I took mental notes about some of her practices that I would like to implement in my home. I am grateful to Welch for having the audacity to take on such a project because the concepts she employs are not valued in this day and age, but for the Christian, they are true and necessary. As a part of the launch team, I was especially encouraged to see Welch's book become a #1 New Release in Family Conflict Resolution on Amazon. I deeply appreciated Welch's transparency as she shared examples of how she and her husband have failed as parents and how they have seen the Lord working within their family. It is always encouraging to know that God's grace is sufficient for every area of our lives, including raising children and helping them cultivate hearts that are grateful. Although I may not agree with every approach written in the book, I was still able to glean wisdom from Raising Grateful Kids and enjoyed learning from Welch's experiences. I would encourage you to purchase a copy and see how some of her insights might be applied in your own home.
JViola79 More than 1 year ago
We've done our share of home improvements over the years. Each one always brought hope for our home to be a place of comfort and invitation for our family. We also had to protect our investment over the years which required maintenance type projects like a new roof or siding or windows. I love watching the home improvement shows but something funny begins to stir in me after a while - - discontent. If not careful, I can begin to look around and see what room should be painted a different color, flooring should be switched out or worse yet, bathroom should be redone. And truly, nothing needs to be improved at our home at this time. In her book, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Kristen Welch hits it on the head: And as uncomfortable as it sounds, parents who want less-entitled kids have to be less entitled themselves, and parents who want to raise more grateful kids need to start by living more grateful lives. (page 11) Media has increasingly made it difficult to be content with what we have, where we are, and who we are. Commercials drive us to get the next new product in the hopes of being able to be successful and achieve our dreams. Along with eroding our contentment, we are driven to get it quickly, now. My children are grown adults, now raising their own children. I pray we, as their parents, raised them to work hard and to be grateful for what they have been given. But only time will truly tell if they learned the lesson and are able to resist the pull which surrounds them. Kristen readily admits she is not a child psychologist but a parent facing the same challenges as us all. You may not agree with everything she shares as she surely goes against the "norm", which will require courage, but you will be left to think about yourself and parenting. Your eyes will be opened to the slow erosion occurring not only in children but in our own hearts as well. She addresses topics such as: wants vs. needs changing times self-centerness technology and setting boundaries cultivating obedience in our children disciplining with love and grace developing gratitude ways to implement change (in ourselves and our children) At the end of each chapter, she makes suggestions which she breaks down into age appropriate stages - toddlers/preschoolers, elementary, tweens /teens, and parents. These suggestions will assist parents in making the small changes, along each stage of life, to continually teach our children to embrace gratitude. These can be tweaked to suit your own family and children. She also includes: a cell phone contract between parent and child a Christian parent manifesto a list of recommended resources This is a must read book for every parent to inspire us to save our families from becoming selfish and self-centered. We can turn the hearts of our children back towards God and gratitude. May we start with changing ourselves first. This book makes for an excellent small group study as there also is a discussion guide. ** I was provided this book by the author and Tyndale Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an excellent read for parents – and it works for whatever age your kiddos are. {I have a middle schooler, an elementary age, and two preschoolers; and I found it helpful for each age group!} Kristen’s writing style is easy to read and relate to. She shares from her own personal experiences, both the good and the bad. Kristen doesn’t pretend to have conquered this concept rather she writes from a place of learning how to make the changes that lead toward more grateful children. There is no condemnation or judgement in the book, instead it lends a sense of community. We are in this together, we can do this together. It may look a little different in each family, but we can move forward together in the same direction. I especially liked that at the end of each chapter Kristen has specific lists for parents, teens/tweens, elementary + preschool/toddler age kids of how to translate the changes into actions.
MamaKristy More than 1 year ago
This book, shows us that we are not alone in going against the flow. Kristen, who is a bit further down the path of parenting than we are, also offers us the opportunity to glimpse what is to come. Her family's lives were turned on their side with a trip to Africa, that clarified the extravagance of the life we all enjoy here. Kristin and her husband work to thoughtfully and intentionally parent their three children. She is clear that she doesn't have all the answers, that every family is different, and the she isn't finished parenting yet, but she offers both anecdotal examples from her own family and spiritual truths. There are also practical, recommended activities for each chapter, divided in to age appropriate categories. The book hits on topics from teaching kids the value of hard work, money, and sacrifice to how to engage in the use of technology. In the appendix you will find useful items, such as a cell phone contract, a parenting manifesto, and a discussion guide. *I received an advanced digital copy to aid in my review and was given a gift of a bracelet as a thank you. The views are my own*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a MUST READ for all parents of children today! This is not a book filled with "feel good" moments or empty ideas. This book will make you examine yourself as you examine your parenting in this very entitled world.
RachelLundy More than 1 year ago
I very much enjoyed reading this new book by Kristen Welch. I knew that Raising Grateful Kids would be an excellent book, but it exceeded my expectations! In the introduction of Raising Grateful Kids Kristen says, This book is my confessional. Its a record of our journey of attempting to raise grateful kids instead of entitled ones. Its the ups and downs, the defeats and victories of such a difficult task. Its my unfinished story. Its also a history lesson from the past, a cultural lesson for the present, and a daunting challenge to learn from one and overcome the second. But mostly, this book is an encouragement to parents swimming upstream in a society that demands we do what is culturally accepted. Raising Grateful Kids is filled with words of wisdom and practical advice based on Kristens personal experience and research. Kristen is very humble and real in this book. She doesnt claim to be an expert or to do everything perfectly. She shares stories of their mistakes and failures and what works for their family. She comes alongside the reader as a friend who is in the thick of parenting and making hard choices. Kristen does a great job of giving practical advice for raising our children to be grateful despite the entitled culture we have in America. At the end of each chapter, she shares specific ideas of ways we can live counter-cultural lives, be grateful, and serve Christ. This is a helpful book for any parent seeking to raise their children to be grateful, Christ-followers in a world that wants to teach us that it is all about having more. Whether you are dealing with heart attitudes of wanting more, or are needing to make big changes in your family to move away from living an entitled life, this book will be encouraging and helpful. I received a copy of Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World from the publisher through the Tyndale Blog Network. All opinions are my own.
viperfamily5 More than 1 year ago
Listen. As parents, we have precious little time to read anything besides bedtime stories and progress reports. Even as my children have grown, reading something for enrichment or-- gasp!-- pleasure just still seems beyond the realm of possible in the very dailyness of existence. But. This. Book. It is worth the few minutes you can eek out everyday-- even if that means shutting yourself in the bathroom for a little longer than usual! Kristen speaks from experience, and with a voice that makes it clear the struggle is still very real for her. She comes along side with encouragement, intentionality, and biblical truth. We all want to be grateful. We all want our kids to be grateful. Too often our vision for life, and our reality collide in a painful, messy, "no-hope-for-recovery" kind of way. In this book, Kristen gently pulls the pieces of brokenness together and stitches them together with hope. Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World is full of funny, poignant narratives from Kristen's own experiences. That makes it entertaining. It is also full of tangible, practical ways to live gratefully and teach gratitude to our children. That makes it useful. Kristen yearns to share her wisdom in how saying "no" can lead to the biggest "yes" in our lives. Say "yes" to this book. Buy it for yourself, your friends, sisters. Making gratitude a priority, swimming upstream in this "me, me, me" "more, more, more" culture, is tough. But, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World shows how doing the hard work, making the hard decisions will make an impact on your family….and our world. As we stand facing a new year, contemplating resolutions for improvement, choose to be better at gratitude. You'll be forever thankful you picked up this book!
FrontRowSeating More than 1 year ago
Growing up my house was a comfortable one, meaning that we didn't go without, but we didn't have an abundance either. I learned the difference between needs and wants. When it came to my own children, I wanted to give them the world. All bets were off and I "needed" to give them everything they wanted. Fortunately, I didn't have the means to carry that out, and along the way I've been tempered by the lifestyle we have chosen to lead. Disaster averted. In her new book, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World, Kristen Welch has really written a message of hope to us parents in the midst of realizing that we want to set the world at our children's feet, but we really shouldn't. My six children range in age from 22 to 6 years old and I've got to say that picking up a parenting book and gleaning something from it at this stage of my life is rare. Not that I've got it all together, mind you, I'm still in the midst of the battle. But I've learned a lot since i brought home my first baby 22 years ago and I'm still gaining insight on how to raise these rewards of the Lord. Kristen's book is refreshing for me because she is right there in the trenches as well. Still raising her children, and so she retains that perspective. Her insights are fresh and raw and still growing. There were moments in the book that I remembered from past struggles and some that touched the place where I find myself now. Reminding myself to really stop and listen to my kids is probably my hardest struggle. Not that I don't hear them, they tend to have a way of making their voices audible to me. What I mean is shutting down my mommy sensors for a minute and stepping into my child's world and looking at the situation from his or her perspective. Whether you are a new mommy or a veteran, this book is chock full of encouragement, hope, guidance and perspective. Grateful kids don't just happen, they must be shown through their parents how to live a life of gratitude. This book is an amazing tool for the journey.
michelemorin More than 1 year ago
Grateful Parents: Grateful Kids Finally, about ten years ago, the light began to dawn, and you can’t imagine how disappointed I was. I realized that parenting is not a cause and effect proposition. It’s not a vending machine in which I insert my actions (seizing teachable moments, training in character, consistency in discipline) and then am rewarded by equal and corresponding reactions (obedience, respect, good behavior). I’m a slow learner, so this was earth-shattering for me, but . . . Having said that, Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World by Kristen Welch reminds me that if I want my children to appreciate their blessings and to operate out of gratitude rather than entitlement, I had better be modeling the right heart attitude myself. In the Great Balancing Act called parenting, we are at war against three words: “Is that all?” In ourselves, in our kids, Western culture exacerbates our entrenched selfishness in everything from “ice cream servings to allowances.” “Enough” is never enough. Kristen is writing from the trenches of raising three kids, and so the tone of Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World is NOT “we have arrived and here’s how your kids can ooze gratitude like our perfect children do.” She comes alongside her readers with humble offerings: “Here’s what we’re doing. Here’s what others have tried, and that’s great, too.” Kristen’s perspective is derived from the knowledge that parents who are willing to fight against the prevailing culture and for an attitude of thankfulness in their children will feel as if they are swimming upstream. My oldest son talked early — and often — so I can still hear his husky toddler voice saying, “There’s a difference between a need and a want.” To me! Even so, one need that is common to all kids is their parents’ love, and ironically, in our culture of possessions and privileges, it is common to find children who are sadly lacking in that need while every want is speedily fulfilled. No one sets out with a goal of “spoiling” her children, but little daily choices that arise from incorrect thinking accomplish the task over time. Kristen unmasks some of these: 1. We want our kids to be our friends. 2. We’re afraid to say no because of the fallout (slammed doors, tears, eye rolling, shouting). 3.We feel guilty about our circumstances and try to compensate with permissiveness. 4.We are busy. We eat fast food on the way to one of Junior’s three different soccer league practices, take on an extra job to pay for a Disneyland vacation, and don’t have time for the slow work of eyeball to eyeball interaction in which we pass on our values. 5.We don’t want them to fail, so we make things “easy” for them. 6.We don’t want them to feel left out, so we cave to the “everyone else” argument. 7.We don’t want them to be unhappy. It is not for nothing, then, that Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World provides an end-of-each-chapter assortment of age-related hints for going against the flow. For parents: “Put a plan in place. Decide in advance what you will say ‘yes’ to.” For toddlers: “Make cookies together. You may eat one for your effort, and then give the rest away to brighten someone’s day. Teach your children that we don’t have to keep everything for ourselves.” For elementary age: “Clean out closets and drawers, and instead of giving away only things that they won’t miss, urge your kids to include something they really love to share with someone else.” F
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really loved Raising Grateful Kids In An Entitled World by Kristen Welch for a number reasons. This is something I think every parent struggles with, Christian or not. She started off the book with just a great background story of how easy it was for her to fall into the desire to want more stuff and then when she had kids, the desire for her kids to have more stuff, better stuff. Just a points out that is con for parents to feel like we need more because our kids don't satisfy us like we thought they would. I think that it doesn't matter how old we are whether we are a cute baby, a teenager, or a parent, we are all suffering from the "I want" inner severing the vicious cycle of self-entitlement. This book has a lot of firsthand examples, which are nice, but the real winner of this book is the solid truths. For example, Welch shares, "Sometimes the best way to help our kids is not to help them" on page 57 – she shares this in correlation to when our kids are responsible and their online, and then we use money to make their problems go away, or to help them succeed. Her example was when her child needed A book at the last minute, and it was possible for her to Buy in time. She said it was hard but it was better for her child to learn the lesson that came from waiting until the last minute. She says, "God teaches us and life's failures and successes." My all-time favorite quote from her is, "we cannot make our parenting choices based on what others are doing. We have to purpose our lives with intention or we will end up being just like everyone else, caught in a trap in our culture that demands we fit in." I don't want to give away the whole book, but she also talks a lot about gratitude. She stresses that gratitude is a choice – one that the world does not make very often. We have to choose to break out of our convenient, self entitled habits and choose gratitude. Ultimately, we raise grateful kids by modeling gratitude ourselves. It's a simple concept for difficult practice, but I know each person and each family will be better if they can follow it. I received this book in exchange for an honest review.