A sociologist from UC-Berkeley suggests that children can be taught gratitude from a young age:
Most of us are actually born feeling entitled to our parents’ care. That means that if we don’t teach kids gratitude and practice it with them, they grow up feeling entitled, and entitlement does not lead to happiness. On the contrary, it leads to feelings of disappointment and frustration. In contrast, gratitude makes us happy and satisfied with our lives…
Studies of adults and college students show positive outcomes from consciously practicing gratitude. My own experience with children has been that they become kinder, more appreciative, more enthusiastic and just generally happier.
I wonder if there is broad-level data to support her claims that children who have more gratitude are happier. One could do a study of grateful adults and try to trace back where exactly they think (and where they actually did) develop this attitude. Could we also figure out why some children develop gratitude and others do not?
Also, these claims about gratitude leading to happiness sounds more like contentment rather than happiness. If we measured happiness on two levels, immediate happiness and longer-term satisfaction, gratitude would seem to lead to more longer-term satisfaction.