Many parents wonder how to deal with ungrateful stepchildren. When you are giving it your all and it seems like they are just dissatisfied no matter what, it can be frustrating. Some children constantly want more and expect you to help them every time they need it. You want to see them showing gratitude and positively responding to you but in many cases, they don’t.
Dealing with ungrateful stepchildren is tricky. The primary takeaway is to not let this behavior continue any longer. It is our responsibility as parents or stepparents to teach gratitude to our children.
If you don’t get any kind of acknowledgment for everything you’re doing for them, it can make your efforts feel meaningless. This is why it is important to understand how to deal with this problem effectively so it does not consume your life.
1. Teach Your Stepchildren Gratitude
The first step you can take is to help your stepchild make showing good manners a habit. That is a big part of showing others respect and gratitude every day. Showing that you’re thankful makes you happier and more determined. Letting your stepchildren know that when you’re appreciative and kind, you have a better attitude and you’re also more considerate is an important factor.
Your heartfelt thank yous mean a lot to the person that shows you kindness to and It inspires generosity and goodwill. When your stepchild is opening gifts, remind them of the time and thought that goes into choosing a gift for someone else. They should never complain about a gift they receive and you should also discuss how their comments affect the feelings of the person that picked them out.
You shouldn’t have to bribe or reward kids for completing a simple task unless it is completely necessary. Don’t let your stepchild grow to expect you to spoil them and take care of everything for them. Show them how to take care of things on their own and it is important to have them help you sort and wash their laundry.
Let them carry it to their room and put it away at the very least.
Help them recognize the good in their life and to be happy for what they have because that will make them feel more confident, loved, and grounded. There will be less worry and jealousy about the things other people have if they’re thankful for their own life and everything in it.
When kids are thinking only of themselves, they don’t offer much help. Ungrateful children think that they are immune to rules and do as they please even to the point where they are rebelling and refusing to acknowledge your authority.
Instead of being toxic with bitterness and resentment, find ways to connect with your stepchild with an activity or chore you both agree on. Set aside some bonding time for the two of you regularly so your relationship can evolve; get used to each other’s company.
2. Be Understanding
Try not to take it personally or be discouraged. If you are wondering how to deal with ungrateful stepchildren, just remember they were probably acting that way before you came into their life. These young children have a lot going on in their lives and they might be dealing with a lot of mental friction because of the divorce process they had to go through.
The child could be rebelling because they are upset their parents aren’t together anymore. They might be upset that their parents are dating someone new so whatever it is, try not to make it a bigger deal than it has to be.
Be patient with your stepchild and eventually you will see progress. The best thing you can do in the early process is to show them that you aren’t there to change their lives in a bad way or to replace their other parent.
You’re there because you are committed to being a part of this family. You want nothing more than to be a positive and supportive person in everyone’s life.
3. The Habit of Giving
A great way to deal with this problem of how to deal with ungrateful stepchildren is to get them involved in the habit of kindness and giving.
Volunteering opportunities can give your stepchild a new perspective on all of the goodness in their life that they take for granted. This will teach your stepchild to have compassion and empathy to help reduce their selfish behavior. They will start to enjoy the way it feels to help someone in need especially if they find a cause they’re passionate about.
Here are a few volunteering ideas to help inspire kindness and gratitude in their hearts.
- Habitat For Humanity Builds
- Food Pantries
- Nursing Homes
- Animal Shelters
Be consistent with your stepchild. Don’t be a pushover just because you want them to like you.
If they are ungrateful and disrespectful for what you do for them, don’t be so quick to jump and do what they want. Let them know that you aren’t just going to give them whatever they want, especially if they don’t appreciate it.
If you always say yes, they will learn to expect instant gratification. Start a reward program to help them earn spending money. A first step you can take is to ask them for help when you are doing the laundry or dishes. They should also be contributing and cleaning up after themselves especially if they are older.
They can save up for what they want or wait for a special occasion. When your stepchild realizes that you are not going to give them extra treats if they don’t show any appreciation, they might change their attitude and start to become more grateful.
4. Stick to Your Limits and Stay In Control
When going through the process of knowing how to deal with ungrateful stepchildren, you need to remember not to parent out of guilt.
Just because you feel bad for the situation your stepchild is going through doesn’t mean they are entitled to anything they want. Be kind and offer the child emotional support and structure but it is important to remember a parent’s job is to meet the child’s needs, not their wants. We all have to set healthy boundaries even with kids.
They will have to learn that you have to work for what you get in life and to always count your blessings. When your stepchild earns something, it will be more meaningful to them. They will probably take better care of things they purchase from their own savings.
Set the standard for what you expect with the way you treat other people. Show the child through your actions how to be grateful and appreciative. Adults set examples for the children in their lives so if they see you being unappreciative for what you have, it makes an impact and they will follow in your footsteps. Let your stepchild see you setting positive examples and being thankful.
Be sure to show your stepchild and your partner gratitude when they do things for you.
You should also have a grateful attitude, don’t walk around pouting and complaining about every little thing that goes wrong. If your stepchild is having an attitude, make them aware that their comments can be hurtful.
There will also be times when kids are showing an entitled attitude. When they’re whining relentlessly in the store for you to buy them something, it can be frustrating to handle.
When you’re getting ready for a grocery store trip or a public outing, let your stepchild know before you leave the house what your expectations are. If you lay out the ground rules ahead of time, they won’t be surprised when you expect them to follow directions.
You must stand your ground and hold your stepchild accountable when they disrespect you. If they overstep their boundaries, they should receive a clear and immediate consequence. Don’t challenge your stepchild or mistakenly believe that you can force them to be more grateful for everything in their lives.
Once you get to know one another better, your stepchild will start to find more things to like about you and start to build trust and a stronger connection. Over time, their attitude should start to improve as they realize how rude their behavior has been. Be a positive role model and never give up.
Final Thoughts – Dealing with Ungrateful Stepchildren
When learning how to deal with ungrateful stepchildren, there will be many hurdles and problems along the way. It is not an easy task to do especially if they are not your biological children.
Whether you are dealing with an entitled stepchild or one that does not care about showing any appreciation, sticking to the plan will help you navigate through your own personal problem.
This is why there are many simple steps to take to compound the effects of this. The way you will be able to solve this problem is to stay committed to the process and make sure you don’t come down hard on them especially if it is the early stages of parenthood.
Here are 5 ways to become more grateful and have some sort of gratitude in your life. Maybe this can be something your stepchildren can partake in.