Parenting Resolutions: What are Yours?
I’m not usually big on New Year’s resolutions, but this year I’m coming up with a few. It seems like a good idea to step back, look at how this last year has gone, and focus my attention on making some changes. What better place to start than with some of my less-than-exemplary parenting habits? And I was thinking about them—really, I was—when I saw that Parents.com already came up with 50 resolutions for me. Before I even glanced at them, though, I resolved to come up with my own. New resolution for 2009: Do my own thinking first. (I just made that up, right now.)
Five Parenting Resolutions for 2009
1. Maintain a unified front. Henry has become extraordinarily adept at playing Scott and me off each other. Usually this occurs when I disagree, either loudly or with violent eye-rolling, with some parenting decision of Scott’s. This year, however, I will maintain a dignified and solemn appearance no matter how much I disagree with my husband’s pronouncements. (And I only mean in front of the kid. When he’s not around, readers, al bets are off.)
2. Teach more, do less. It’s easy to do everything for Henry: get his breakfast ready, tie his shoelaces, spell “poop.” This year, I’m going to focus on teaching him how to do all these things and more on his own. It takes more time and energy, but that’s the point.
3. Let him make mistakes. Alternately, let him do things his own weird, idiosyncratic way. So when he decides he wants to warm up his Cheerios and milk in the microwave , I’ll let him try it out. He might think it’s gross, but on the other hand, he might be proud of his new (disgusting and soggy) breakfast invention. There’s nothing wrong with Hot Cheerios, as long as I don’t have to watch him eat it.
4. Model frustration management. Like most six-year-olds, Henry’s not especially adept at handling frustration, and like a few adults, neither am I. This year I’m going to take any opportunity I can find to model maturity and composure in the face of frustration. So when we’re running late for school and I can’t find my damn keys, I might take a minute to talk through where I saw them last, instead of, say, cursing and stamping my feet. Not that I ever do that. Ahem.
5. More celebration. More using the fancy china for mac ‘n’ cheese. More toasting of Wednesdays. More board-game marathons. More sit-down afternoon teas. More birthday parties for his favorite bear. Not every day can be special, but more of them should be.
So those are mine.
My Favorites from Parents.com
Teach kids this bravery trick. Tell them to always notice the color of a person’s eyes. Making eye contact will help a hesitant child appear more confident and will help any kid to be more assertive and less likely to be picked on.
Show your child how to become a responsible citizen. Find ways to help others all year. Kids gain a sense of self-worth by volunteering in the community.
Give yourself a break. Hitting the drive-through when you’re too tired to cook doesn’t make you a bad parent.
Of all of these, giving myself a break might be the hardest resolution to follow, but the most important one in the long run.
So, readers, what do you think? What are your resolutions for 2009?
Published January 2, 2009.
Last updated August 27, 2018.