Gratitude similar to reading and math is taught. It is a great error to assume that children of today know how to express gratitude.
Social disconnect: Gratitude is a social skill that should be taught at home but the family unit is more and more dysfunctional, and manners are fanned aside as nonessential. There is a social disconnect as parents become lost in the world of technology and social networking.
A behavior: His mother said he opened gift after gift and cried when he did not get his desired gift. She was surprised and hurt that he showed no gratitude for the many gifts he received. She sacrificed financially to get him the gifts he received. He did not say “thank you” or hugged her for those gifts. His focus was on the one gift he did not receive.
A habit: This experience is a teaching one. When children response this way to what they do not have stop and inform them of your hurt feelings. This will develop sensitivity to others. Then talk about how important it is to show gratitude for what one has. Talk about what it feels like to receive a “thank you”, a smile or a hug of gratitude. Then ask for those actions for the gifts received. Repeat this every time they show ingratitude and the positive response will eventually become a habit.