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5 New Year Resolutions Parents Should Make

So the gifts have been unwrapped, and the Christmas tree in  most homes are most likely bare.  It’s been a remarkable year in which we’ve all watched our children grow in leaps and bounds, as children inevitably do.  As the year draws to a close and the time to welcome a new year approaches, it’s traditional and I think inevitable to look back  and measure how well we did in that time-frame.  Are there things we wished we did differently?  Are there things  we wished we could do better?  Are there things we wished we actually did?  I know I do.  Here are my mantras that may help you all have a saner, happier, 2010.

  1. I will remember to use MY indoor voice. I like to tell my toddler to use her indoor voice when she’s inside, but the truth is, I could follow my own advice a lot more often.  It’s rare for a day to pass when I don’t yell at her for something or other.  Sometimes, it’s justified such as during times I wish to get her attention from a dangerous situation.  Sometimes, the yelling has the exact opposite effect of defusement — causing her to be startled for example and making the situation more dangerous.  I need to keep in mind that a firm, and calm voice can be just as effective as a shout.  I need to remember to keep my patience during other times when the only reason to yell is because of my frustration.  I plan to set a goal, like going at least 1 day without yelling.  Then trying to go 2 days without yelling, then continuing to increase the length of time I can go without yelling.

  2. I will learn ways to manage my frustration.  Resolution number one won’t help without finding alternative ways to shouting.  I need to remember that my child may do things that frustrate me, but it’s (usually) not on purpose.  And when it is, it’s helpful to remember that they are testing us, and learning from us.  The best thing to do in those moments is to remember that they are acting age-appropriately, and that we as the parent must do the same.  That moment may be the perfect opportunity to teach them of consequences like time-outs, naughty corner and other age-appropriate tactics.  Before I react, I can also take some form of time-out, step away from the room when safe, practice breathing exercises, count, picture my child smiling and being good to replace the image of the tantrum-thrower, etc.

  3. I will remember to praise more.  Children need positive attention.  They thrive in an environment where they feel loved, and valued.  The more positive attention a child gets, the less they act out in other negative ways, ergo the less frustrated we’ll be 🙂

  4. I’ll remember to take time for me.  I already do this by working out and making date nights with my husband, but I know many (some even say most) Moms don’t.  Just remember, the more you feel good about yourself, the better parent you make.  The lack of a stress-reliever, or a break from being the responsible one all the time can take its toll, and can affect the psychological health of your children in turn.  A hobby, work-outs, girls night-out, or just time at home alone while the kids are sleeping over at the grandparents’ can do wonders for your own mental health.

  5. I’ll remember to forgive myself.  If you have yelled, if you got frustrated, if you didn’t praise as much as you wanted, and for many others things you wish you did or didn’t do, forgive yourself.  Remember you’re human, and not perfect.  Too often we beat ourselves up for every little thing, we judge ourselves, and judge other parents, and feel judged all at the same time.  My mantra?  We all do the best we can.  We are all different; there was no parenting manual given to any of us when we had our kids so we’re all just learning along the way.  My husband treats our daughter like she’s a delicate flower that must be protected from every little sniffle and fall.  I treat her like she’s a hardy tree resilient in all weathers. We learn from each other.  We’ll make mistakes inevitably. What’s important is we learn from those too.

What about you?  What are your New Year parenting resolutions?


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