Thursday, January 5, 2012

Not Writing Thank You Notes Can Lead to a Sense of Entitlement in Children

It seems in this day and age that many people think thank-you notes are no longer necessary.  I tend to disagree.  Thank-you notes are a very important part of receiving a gift.  When we become blase about writing thank-you's and having our children write thank you's, we are truly doing a disservice to them.

Thank you's are important for many reasons.  First, they let the recipient know that you received the gift.  I can't tell you the number of times I have been left wondering if people actually got my gift because I never heard back from them.

Another reason thank-you's are important is that it lets the sender know you appreciate their efforts.  Although I don't give gifts in order to receive a thank-you, I would like to know it was appreciated.  If not, I am not so likely to go out of my way in the future as I feel that maybe the recipient isn't interested in my efforts/gifts.

Thank-you's also teach your child to be appreciative of the efforts of others.  It teaches them to be less selfish and more concerned about others around them.

Lastly, thank-you's teach your child that they are not entitled to a gift and to not take gifts for granted.  When we don't enforce thank-you's, we are teaching children a sense of entitlement.  When children grow up feeling entitled to gifts, they may begin to feel entitled in life.  When this happens they may have difficulty accepting responsibility for what happens to them and feels the world owes them.  They may feel deserving of more than life gives them and think it is okay to just take what they want.  They may rack up credit card bills because they feel they deserve to have what they want.

I am a firm believer in writing thank you notes to others.  As soon as possible after receiving a gift, I have my children sit down and write a thank-you note.  Of course, they usually grunt and groan, but I point out to them that the person took time out of their day to select and purchase a gift for them and it is important to show appreciation.  If they are too little to write, have them draw a picture.  If your child is in first or second grade and still struggles with writing, make a pre-made card where they just have to fill in the blanks.  These are also great if they have many thank-you notes to write.  As they get older, provide guidance on writing the thank-you.  Encourage them to say more than, "Dear Grandma, Thank you for the toy."  Have them add something more about the toy, such as "it is my favorite toy," "I play with it every day," or, "it is the perfect addition to my collection."  By teen years, thank-you's can incorporate a bit more.  "Dear Grandma, I hope you have been well.  I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate the cash you sent.  I plan to spend it on..." or "I am saving up for an iPod and this is a great start."

What about those gifts that you really don't like?  What do you do then?  You still send a thank-you. It is common courtesy, even if the gift will go straight to the donation pile.  They took the time to get you something, no matter how thoughtless you may think the gift is.  Be courteous of their efforts.

If you can't take the time to send a thank-you, at minimum, a short call to the giver thanking them is better than nothing.


everydayproducts andmore said...

I agree great post i don't get any thank you notes let alone Thank you these days very sad. newest follower look forward to reading your posts

Real Life Deals said...

Completely agree! If someone has time to send me or my family a gift, we have time to say thanks! Great article! Just tweeted this and liked this!

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