Ten Parenting Resolutions for All of Us
Like everyone else this time of year leads me to reflect upon my life and think about what things I want to change going forward. Of course I would love to eat better, exercise more, and a whole host of other things that most of say we would like to do, yet fail to make a priority over and over again.
I want to be better parent. Honestly, who doesn’t? I am sure none of us have reached a place where we feel we have perfected this parenting thing. I don’t think such perfection even exists. But every day I still try, not to reach perfection, but to do the best I can and to learn to appreciate the imperfect
I am not going to say I will do crafts, or embrace the indoor use of glitter. Nor will I listen to “kid” music in my car. But I am going to try to be more conscious of the parenting choices that I make. So my resolutions for this year aren’t lofty. I don’t plan on leaving 2011 with a list of resolutions I haven’t even considered since January third.
1: Yell less. It never works anyway, does it? There is always a better option. Unless, of course you are trying to be heard above a speeding train heading right for your child, then by all means yell.
2: Listen more. it is amazing how much strife can be avoided if people, not just parents, took the time to listen rather than just react. The things I beat myself up for the most are the times I when I completely overreacted to a situation that could have been avoided if I had only taken a step back and listened to what my children were really saying to me.
3: Savor the small moments. Read the bedtime story, even though it is past their bedtime. Play the game, even though you think it might cause your brain to spill out of your ears. Sit with your teenagers late at night while they eat a snack at the kitchen table. These are the small moments that you don’t think anyone will remember. And perhaps they won’t remember them, but they will remember how you made them feel during their childhood. Do you want them to remember feeling like a burden, an annoying distraction? Or do you want them to remember feeling cherished?
4: The little things matter. Show them how much you care. Whether it is just looking at them in the eye with a smile on your face when they come home from school, or rubbing their arm as you walk past them. I often text my older kids during the day to tell them something that I think they will find funny. Or I will buy some small treat, and I mean small, and leave it for them on their bed. Just a tiny something to let them know that they are special even in a crowd of a family.
5: Acknowledge that some battles on are not worth fighting. Afterall, they need photos of poorly chosen haircuts and clothes to laugh at later in life.
6: Parent as if no one is watching. There are times it is tempting to just give in on your personal beliefs or ideals so as to not make a scene. Let the scene happen. It won’t be pleasant. But in the long run, you’ll be thankful you didn’t cave in because you were worried about what your neighbor would think.
7: Parent as if everyone is watching. You wouldn’t scream and yell at your children in public, why do it in private. Watch your tone of voice.
8: Unplug. If you are behind a screen, you are not interacting.
9: Play. Be silly. Act like a child. Have fun with your kids.
10: Enjoy. Enjoy your kids more. Enjoy your life more. This is probably the most challenging. But personally, I am tired of complaining when really I have nothing to complain about.