Parenting Resources

Teaching Generosity to Children

Generosity during the holiday season? an oxymoron?  

For too many American children, the holiday season consists of  "making their lists and checking them twice" to make sure they have asked for and receive as many gifts as possible. But, what brings more happiness? Receiving gifts or  giving gifts?

Recent research demonstrates that those people who give to others are more likely to be happier - regardless of whether the giver is rich or poor. A study evaluating surveys from 136 countries found that "prosocial spending is associated with greater happiness around the world, in poor and rich countries alike."

Even when participants in one study were given money to purchase items for charity, they felt better than those who were given money to spend on themselves. The authors suggest that generosity is a universally important social theme.  

Aknin LB, Barrington-Leigh CP, et al. Prosoclal spending and Well Being: Cross Cultuml Evidence for a Psychological Universal. Journal of Personally and Social Psychology 2013; 104:635-652.