Family Project to Decrease Attitude and Increase Graditude

A home filled with children is sure to have its share of snide comments, complaints, whines, insults, and disruptions.  My children are not perfect.  Each have done their share of complaining, whining and sadly insulting one another.  Children are egocentric so they rarely think of how their words affect another person.  However, if this behavior continues without proper guidance it will become habitual.  Soon the only thing holding your children together is a bond of insulting behavior.   Kids are exposed to sibling rivalry in the shows they watch on TV.  Often siblings flinging insults are considered a source of comedy.  This extends beyond sibling relationships to parent/child relationships, child/teacher relationships, and friend/friend relationships.

Since we need not look to far to see how ungodly this behavior is, how can we allow it occur?  Simply we cannot.  Yet, every parent knows that this behavior is not easily stopped.   As Christian parents, we can model godly behavior and challenge our children to demonstrate godly behavior.   We can also take action and discipline for ungodly behavior.

Due to my frustration over my preteen not being able to control her mouth toward her younger brother and seeing this same behavior demonstrated from him to his younger sister, I decided to take action.  Discipline was a temporary fix until the next time one annoyed the other.  I realized that the heart and thought life needed to change in order for a real transformation to take place.  I want my ugly little ducklings to be beautiful swans.

These thoughts and concerns gave birth to the Journal of Thankfulness and Loving Thoughts.  Each child has his or her own journal to list things they are thankful for daily.  I started out with three items and continually challenge them to increase the list.  They are also instructed to list their siblings and write one nice thing about him or her.  If I hear them complain about someone or insult someone, that person is then added to the mix.   I also add other family members as reminders of why they love them.

How do you make your own?

Supplies needed:

  • composition book or notebook
  • printable provided
  • scissors
  • tape

Simply print out the printable here.   Cut it out to fit the cover of your composition book or notebook and attach with tape.  I taped over the label to ensure it would not come off.

If you have a child too young to write, have her draw pictures of what she is thankful for and tell you one nice thing about her siblings a day which you will add to her journal.  It is important to write it down for her as you can remind her of what she said during rough times.

This is just one step that needs to be followed by prayer and properly modeled behavior.

Copyright © Richele McFarlin, Moms of Faith, All Rights Reserved


  1. Amber on March 24, 2010 at 10:56 am

    God placed your blog right here, for me to see. You have an issue with your children, and I have an issue with myself. I notice that Paul edifies all his readers, even though they are human, just like me. He isn’t cruel with his correction nor sarcastic with his affirmation. He is sincere, like Christ. Last night, God opened my eyes to my own criticism of others and myself. It feels unnatural to give sincere compliments. This, along with some scripture to meditate on that affirms who we are in Christ, I pray will make my heart more like His. Thank you.

  2. Laura Kuehn LCSW on March 24, 2010 at 8:48 pm

    I am more convinced everyday that serving is the cure for a hard heart/self-centered attitude. Apologies can be empty – we know all to well the “I’m sorry” where the accompany body language says that I am anything BUT sorry. To remedy this, sorry’s are secondary in our house. If you offend, hurt, or cause pain (emotional or physical) to anyone else, service is required. We get creative – serve a sibling a snack and watch them eat; play a game of choice of the offended one; “donate” your computer time to another child; etc. The point is to SHOW, not just SAY you are sorry. We find this to greatly increase the softness of the offender’s heart and to greatly increase the willingness of the recipient to extend forgiveness. Relationships get repaired and hearts are mended. God is in the business of reconciliation and parents should be as well. Thanks for the post.

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