The end of an old year and the beginning of a new year is a natural time to reflect on your life and make new goals. This year, as you consider what New Year’s resolutions to make, consider making a few parenting resolutions as well. Diets come and go, budgets are made or broken, and people learn new things, but your child will always be there. Make resolutions that will enhance your parent-child bond, and watch how that attachment will benefit you both.
- I will exercise more with my child. Rates of childhood obesity and overweight are ever rising. One way to ensure your child remains healthy is to keep him or her active. Exercising with your child sets a good example, strengthens your family’s bonds, and keeps you as a parent healthy, too! Strap on a pair of skates and head to the Steinberg Skating Rink or go biking along the Katy Trail.
- I will prune my disciplinary strategies. Something you are doing isn’t working? Maybe something you are doing used to work but is no longer doing. While it may seem like common sense to drop it and move on, it’s easy to get stuck in a parenting rut, so now is the time to prune away those disciplinary strategies that no longer work and try new things. Out of ideas? Reserve a copy of Dr. Sears’ The Discipline Book at any St. Louis area Borders store.
- I will be consistent. Children need consistency and regularity in their lives. If you have difficulty being consistent with discipline, have a tumultuous schedule, or other areas in which consistency is a struggle, now is the time to change that.
- I will respect my child. One of the best ways to teach respect is to show respect. Children learn by watching and imitating their parents and others in authority. Respecting your children does not mean you must approve all their choices: That’s lax parenting. To respect your child, you simply need to respect their feelings and opinions, their bodily integrity, and their right to privacy. You do not have to agree with, approve of, or permit everything they want to do, but you do need to respect that they will have feelings and thoughts separate from your own.
- I will have age-appropriate expectations. Do you expect your two-year-old to sit silently through a 2 hour church service? Do you expect your 3 year old to clean up his room without your help or input? Do you allow your 13 year old daughter to use the internet unsupervised? Some children may be able to do all of the above with no ill effects. But it’s a rare two-year-old who can sit silently for such a long period of time, and most three-year-olds will need direction or assistance from their parents. And 13 year olds, even responsible ones, are simply not mature enough to be online unrestricted. Having age-appropriate expectations means you understand that your child is still a child and as such will make mistakes. Your job is to help your child make wise choices, either preventing these mistakes or bouncing back from these mistakes.
- I will find a doctor who respects my choices for my child. Not every doctor is AP-friendly. You either need to find one who is or learn to stand up to the doctor you have chosen when your wills do not match.
- I will use time-outs appropriately. Do you use time-outs as punishment? Time-outs work best when used positively, allowing the child to regroup after a temper tantrum or explosion of emotion. Don’t forget to give yourself a time-out when parenting gets too overwhelming! It’s ok to either go to a quiet room to relax or even hire a babysitter and take a night off.
- I will be more balanced. Attachment parents often find themselves becoming so wrapped up in the job of parenting that they forget both themselves and their relationship. This is not healthy for their relationship, and it certainly isn’t healthy for their family or children. Keep your life balanced by taking care of yourself, your partnership, and your family in balanced proportions.
- I will learn to choose my battles. Is it really necessary that your child wear matching socks? Save your energy for the battles that really matter. Most smaller issues can be compromised without losing your parental authority. Giving your child choices can also help reduce battles.
- I will seek out support. API St. Louis is a good place to start., but you can find smaller support groups online as well.
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