Cover 2 Cover Magazine January 2012 : Page 24
PARENTING “Becoming the Parent You Want To Be For the New Year” by Tammy Gold very year parents make resolutions such as, “this year I want to yell less, this year I want to spend more time with my children or this year I want to have more patience.” A lot of parents look to the New Year as a new beginning for them to be the par-ent they want to be. A new year is a perfect market for every parent to try and make a change for the better for themselves and for their children. How do parents make and then stick to these reso-lutions? Parents often think “how can I yell less when my children do not listen or how can I spend more time realistically when I spend 60 hours a week work-ing and commuting?” There are unfortunately real life components that have to work within these idealistic New Year resolutions. Often parents do what they can for the first few weeks of the New Year and then, feel-ing overwhelmed; they abandon their resolutions and revert back to old behaviors. When I work with parents each year I ask them to start small and focus on workable and important changes. Parents need to ask themselves positive questions instead of those resolutions based within negative statements. Additionally, they need to spe-cifically plan out a resolution rather than generically state something such as I am going to have dinner with Bree every week, instead of I want to spend more time with my daughter. Parents feel badly when they fall 24 Cover 2 Cover Magazine | January 2012 short of their resolutions. If parents have voiced these resolutions to their children and then do not uphold them, then the children lose faith in the parent as well. Parents can make meaningful changes this year by making small, clear and important changes. If your children are old enough, involve them in your resolu-tion and open the dialogue allowing them to verbalize how they would see the parent you want to be. Ask your children and yourself, what do I do that makes you happy and what do I do that makes you sad? What can I work on that will make you happier in the way that you need? If your children are young, use their cues to read their mind. Do they pull on you when you are on the phone or scream when you are reading? All of those actions lead to the same message of pay attention to me! Simple resolutions with clear goals achieve great success as long as they allow for something that makes both parent and child happy. Ideas such as one din-ner a week, dates alone, one hour of play time to even simple things like promising to read at least two books a week or catch one game a week. Starting small and setting goals allows you to master small items and move onward to bigger ones. The decision to be a better parent is one that continues to grow and morph. By facing this journey with optimism and manage-able goals, both parents and children have the greatest chance of success.