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Making Grateful Kids

The Science of Building Character

Jeffrey Froh, Giacomo Bono


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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (5/20/2015)


If there was a new wonder drug on the market that got kids to behave better, improve their grades, feel happier, and avoid risky behaviors, many parents around the world would be willing to empty their bank accounts to acquire it. Amazingly, such a product actually does exist. It’s not regulated by the FDA, it has no ill side-effects, and it’s absolutely free and avail­able to anyone at any time. This miracle cure is gratitude.

Over the past decade, science has shown that gratitude is one of the most valuable and important emotions we possess, and it is a virtue that anyone can cultivate. In fact, researchers have developed many different methods people can use to foster an attitude of gratitude, and the science shows that many of them really work.

In Making Grateful Kids, two of the leading authorities on gratitude among young people, Jeffrey J. Froh and Giacomo Bono, introduce their latest and most compelling research, announce groundbreaking findings, and share real-life stories from adults and youth to show parents, teachers, mentors, and kids themselves how to achieve greater life satisfaction through gratitude. Most importantly perhaps, they expand on this groundbreaking research to offer practical and effec­tive common-sense plans that can be used in day-to-day interactions between kids and adults to enhance success and wellbeing.

Their unique, scientifically-based approach for producing grateful youth works whether these kids are very young ele­mentary school students or troubled teenagers. Not only does the purposeful practice of gratitude increase their happiness, but the research indicates that grateful kids also report more self-discipline, fulfilling relationships, and engagement with their schools and communities when compared to their less grateful counterparts. After reading Making Grateful Kids, parents, teachers, and anyone who works with youth will be able to connect more mean­ingfully with kids so that all parties can focus on the things that matter most and, in turn, create a more cooperative and thriving society.

Praise For Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character

“Of the key virtues that make for a successful life, gratitude is one that is often overlooked in child-rearing and education today. In Making Grateful Kids, Jeffrey Froh and Giacomo Bono have given us the most valuable kind of guide to child development: one that is full of compelling examples and backed up by state-of-the-art research findings. Parents, educators, students, and practitioners will benefit greatly from this book.” — William Damon, professor of education, Stanford University, director, Stanford Center on Adolescence, and author of The Path to Purpose: Helping Our Children Find Their Calling in Life

“In their thoughtful, engaging, and informative book, Froh and Bono contribute mightily to science and to families around the world.  Making Grateful Kids explains the significance of the burgeoning scientific study of character development among youth, provides parents with evidence-based ideas for enhancing an essential facet of thriving among adolescents, and offers practitioners and policy makers a positive, hopeful vision for promoting positive development among present and future generations of young people. All readers will be grateful for this timely and important book. — Richard M. Lerner, PhD, Bergstrom Chair in Applied Developmental Science, director, Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University, and author of The Good Teen: Rescuing Adolescence from the Myths of the Storm and Stress Years

“This book provides scientifically-based answers to the question that every parent asks: How can I get my kids to be more grateful? Froh and Bono, pioneers in the field of youth gratitude, point to specific practices and principles that can be used by parents, teachers, and kids alike. They make a compelling case for why, when it comes to future generations, gratitude is the single best investment we can make. My hope is that this book will help give rise to “Generation G”—Young adults that recognize the transforming power of gratitude.” — Robert A. Emmons, editor-in-chief, The Journal of Positive Psychology, author of Gratitude Works! and Thanks! How the New Science of Gratitude Can Make You Happier

Making Grateful Kids is the book that parents have been waiting for. Chock-full of engaging examples and stories, reams of supportive empirical evidence, and clear, easy-to-follow recommendations for how to instill gratitude starting today, Froh and Bono impart a really valuable message: Gratitude matters and it matters most in kids.“ — Sonja Lyubomirsky, PhD, professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside and author of The How of Happiness and The Myths of Happiness.

“Amid a generation of entitled young people, gratitude seems to be a lost – but much missed – character quality. School psychologist Jeffrey Froh and social science professor Giacomo Bono have conducted dozens of psychological studies to identify the components which help to build gratitude into children and young adults… . This book would be especially useful in supplementing studies on child and adolescent development (whether in psychology or education), Christian education of children (youth and family ministry), and family studies. Though it is not written from a faith-based point of view, there are direct and scholarly connections with Christian values and disciplines that provide easy application for believers. Questionnaires, extensive notes, and a strong index continue the scholarly approach to the topic. However, the book is both readable and inspirational.” —Carol Reid, Welch College, The Christian Librarian

Templeton Press, 9781599474168, 288pp.

Publication Date: March 10, 2014

About the Author

Jeffrey J. Froh, PsyD, is a school psychologist, associate professor of psychology at Hofstra University, and the recipient of a multiyear grant from The John Templeton Foundation to study gratitude in children and adolescents. He is past associate editor for The Journal of Positive Psychology and co-editor of Activities for Teaching Positive Psychology: A Guide for Instructors. He has authored over thirty scientific articles and book chapters on gratitude, strengths, and well-being, among other topics. His research has appeared in mainstream media such as the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, and Better Homes and Gardens. He lives with his wife, Cara, and two children, James and Julianne, in Greenlawn, New York.   
Giacomo Bono, PhD, is a professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills and, along with Froh, the recipient of a multiyear grant from The John Templeton Foundation to study gratitude in children and adolescents. He has a PhD in Social Psychology from Claremont Graduate University and has extensive training and work experience involving research in health, positive psychology, youth development, and school and community programs for youth and families. With approximately twenty articles and chapters published, his research has appeared in U.S. News and World Report, the Huffington Post, Health Magazine, and Youth Radio. He lives with his wife, Kate, and two children, Dario and Alex, in La Mirada, California.