by Heather Murphy
My social media feeds and magazine covers are already flooded with the latest and greatest New Year’s resolutions. Lose those pounds you’ve been hanging onto! Stop being late! Get out of debt!
If you are like me, resolutions are not a good fit. I have never been one to choose one BIG thing to announce that I am doing in January, and then possibly beat myself up later on, because I didn’t accomplish it. I prefer to set smaller goals for myself that are more synonymous with everyday living, and not necessarily a once-a-year resolution.
So let’s STOP making year-long resolutions! Here are some tips I will be following to help me – and I hope they may help you too – if you find yourself struggling in the trenches of parenthood as I do!
1. Keep Cool
If you feel yourself getting upset, take a time-out – even if it’s just taking a few deep breaths and counting to ten. Our children need to see that things turn out better when we keep our cool and keep our tempers under control.
2. Give Praise When Deserved
Let your child know when they did something good – and be specific.
3. Discipline When Needed
Children also thrive best with structure. So they need this balance of being reigned in when they misbehave. In our house, we use time-outs for our little guy.
4. Walk the Talk
I have found that my son is a great imitator. Thus, I don’t want to tell him to do or say something that I, myself, am not, or would not do. He is observing my every move and definitely remembers all that I say. I want to be a good example for him.
5. Slow Down
I am always running late. It’s literally a running joke in my family. However, I have to fight with myself to not rush my child because of this. It’s not his fault. There are things I can do to fix our time problem instead of constantly telling him to, “hurry up.” Plus, time is precious. I don’t want to hurry through these years, rushing us both, and not enjoying and soaking up every second with him.
6. Be Honest
This can be a hard one for the little ones, because they may not always understand the answers to the questions they ask. However, for the thousands of “why” questions I get asked on a daily basis, I try to give real answers instead of a more simple (for me) “because I told you so” answer.
It can be hard to have patience when your child doesn’t have any either, but this is an area where I believe the imitating behavior can definitely help. I also feel that we need to teach our little ones that it’s okay, and necessary at times, to wait their turn or finish one task before moving onto something else. This is going to be a hard one for me to work on.
If you give respect, then you get respect. I firmly believe this. I think that this can hold true whether you have a 3-year-old or a 13-year-old. Yes, we may be the parents and have the authority, but I think we need to be careful to not discredit the ideas and opinions of our little ones. Listen to them and let them know they are heard. We may not always agree, but their voices are important. Likewise, they need to know that our voices are important too, and should always be listened to.
9. Ask For Help
We are not in this alone, my friends! Sometimes we don’t have all the answers we need, or we just need a break or a comforting ear to listen to us. Call on your trusted family members and friends. They will be there!
10. Love Your Child
Quite simply, show affection. Give a hug, and make sure you tell your kiddos that you love them. There is nothing better than that! It will make you both feel good.