Part of the reason is because our resolutions are often about us. On January 1st, we are all gung-ho about focusing on how to improve our lives, but parents’ lives are busy. No matter our intentions, our focus inevitably shifts from us and gravitates to our children. So, this year, for New Year’s, why not consider making some parenting resolutions?
We all want our children to be happy and successful and there’s a good chance we may not have been going about it the best way possible. Using these six Safety-Net Parenting skills can help us keep our Parenting Resolutions in 2015.
1. Help Your Child Find His Passion
If you haven’t already, in 2015, consider making an effort to find out what your child is passionate about. Sometimes it’s obvious, but other times a child doesn’t even know. So, you listen. You pay attention. When the screens are off, what is it he wants to do most? What is he telling you about every time you drive him to soccer practice? These are his passions. These are crucial to learn so he can start building successes and self-confidence.
2. Find Her Opportunities To Strengthen Her Passions
If your child loves building, find opportunities for her to build. Search for a club at school together. Look online for a Lego building or design competition close by. As an adult, often we have the experience that our children don’t have. So, we show them how they can take their passions and make them into strengths.
3. Let Him Fail
In 2015, pull back a bit. Helicopter Parents hover and studies show us that this is not good for our children’s self-perception. They don’t feel a sense of independence. So, when they go out on their own, they don’t fully trust themselves because they have not been given the opportunities in the past. So, this year, let him learn from failures. If he leaves his homework on the dining room table after you have reminded him twice to put it in his backpack, don’t turn the van around and retrieve it before school starts. Safety-Net Parents allow their children to fail (but, not crash) so they can learn from their mistakes and hopefully avoid them next time.
4. Show Them How To Give Back
Researchers have found that children who give back to their communities have stronger connections to their surroundings and do better in school. So, this year, find a way for your child to give back. Have her be a part of this decision-making. Will she donate a portion of her allowance each week to an animal shelter because she loves dogs? Does she want to hold cookie sales and open a lemonade stand each month to donate to cancer research for her aunt who is battling the disease? How about volunteering at the local YMCA for her high school community service hours because she a health advocate?
5. Set The Rules and Stick To Them
This is the year that you follow through. Although they rarely admit it, children need boundaries to feel safe. Once they feel safe and know their limits, they are free to explore their passions. So, our job as Safety-Net Parents is to set those limits, make the consequences known, and (most importantly) stick to them. It’s easy to give your son “one more chance,” but when you do, you’ve trained him to know that there is no consistency in your follow-through. Be the bad guy once (maybe twice) at the beginning of 2015 and make life easier for everyone the rest of the year.
6. Be the Person You Want Your Child to Become
Oh, all right already. Yes, you can make a resolution as well. Actually, it’s incredibly important you model the behaviors you want your children to have. If you want them to find their passions, explore your own. If you want them to give back, then you must also give back. If they need to eat right, stay healthy, exercise, so should you (this is your resolution part).
When our children become happy in the lives they live, confident in the skin they are in, and successful in the endeavors, life at home is pleasant for us all. And, with a stable home, it’s easier for us parents to focus on our own resolutions: getting a better job, getting rid of the cigarettes, hitting the gym, and being better parents.
image courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/Yuri