By Dr. Jan Hittelman
The main reason we often don’t realize our New Year’s resolutions is that they are too ambitious. Here’s a list of easy, manageable resolutions that you will not only be able to successfully implement, but that will also have positive impacts on your family.
1. Try not to sweat the small stuff. Too often we spend endless hours arguing with our children about minor issues, when we should really be focused on more important things.
2. Be a better listener. Parents spend a lot of time talking (i.e. lecturing) to their children and not enough time really listening to their children’s thoughts and feelings.
3. Verbalize feelings of pride. As parents we often feel proud of our children, but we rarely think to actually tell them how we feel and underestimate how much they need to hear it.
4. Reinforce effort, not results. Focusing on the effort that your child puts into things, will help them to become more confident and competent.
5. Let your child take ownership of their school work. From 5th grade on, shift from control to advice, thereby teaching your child to be more responsible and less dependent.
6. Spend 1:1 time with your child doing something fun. Make an effort to spend at least one hour a month with each of your children, doing something you both enjoy.
7. Model being physically active. Exercise regularly and invite your child to participate as physical exercise benefits us both physically and emotionally.
8. Say the “L word”. We often assume our children just know, but it’s important to verbalize our feelings of love in a heartfelt way.
9. Take better care of yourself. Make sure that, in addition to taking care of family members, you are also remembering to do fun, relaxing things you enjoy to reduce your stress level.
10. Remember how lucky you are. While we all tend to take what we have for granted, consider how fortunate you and your family are and celebrate it often.
Each week this year, try to focus on just one of the above resolutions. Any improvement in one or more of these areas should be considered a major victory. Best wishes for a healthy, happy year for you and your family.