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Be a Better Parent in the New Year


What’s your New Years Resolution? Many people choose something related to weight loss, or money, or productivity. This year, why not pick a resolution that will be much more meaningful? Resolve to take steps to be a better parent in the new year.

Parenting can be as rewarding as it is difficult. It is easy to see why parents often make mistakes. Everyone does it – nobody is perfect! Ideally, people learn from those mistakes so they do not repeat them. What I’m trying to say is that parenting is a skill that can always be improved upon. It is worth the effort to have a better relationship with your children.

I’ve seen a lot of blogs popping up online in which a parent writes about how he or she is going to be a better parent in the new year. This doesn’t mean the writers are bad parents. Quite the opposite! Those who are motivated to sit down, think about their parenting abilities, and write about the areas they need to improve in, are obviously very thoughtful and well intentioned parents.

Your list of what to do to be a better parent may differ from everyone else’s. That’s ok! There is no one set of directions about how to do it. Ultimately, you need to assess your own, personal, values and then evaluate if your actions and words as a parent are helping you (and your children) to live those values.

Not sure where to begin? Here are a few ideas to consider.

Be More Consistent
Children need consistency. It helps them to understand what is most likely to happen next. This knowledge can help prevent some anxiety. Sticking to a predictable system can also help prevent outbursts and temper tantrums.

What that looks like in your family may differ. For some, it involves assigning children a specific bedtime and enforcing it. Others might need to start having dinner together as a family at the kitchen table every night. It might mean sitting down with your kids and coming up with some “house rules” – and explaining the consequences of breaking them.

Be More Compassionate
It’s hard to be a little kid. It’s difficult to be a tween. Being a teenager can be extraordinarily stressful. Parents, of course, have their own stresses to cope with. Too many parents forget what it felt like to be the age that their children are now.

Please take your children seriously when they come to you with a problem. They are relying on you to be understanding and to come up with a solution. They are trusting you not to laugh at them or blow them off.

Image by Rareclass on Flickr.

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