Resolve To Be A Better Parent This Year

Be more positive, more consistent and be more patient!

Resolve To Be Positive

This sounds so easy, but for most of us, it takes a stronger resolution than quitting smoking or losing weight. Looking for good behavior in our children isn’t always easy. Many of us were conditioned as young children to pay attention to the negative. Turn this around. Look for the good things that your kids say and do.  Reinforce polite requests, not the whining, teasing, and temper tantrums. Reinforce calm discussions, not the arguments and power struggles. Focus on the positive attitudes and behavior in your children.

Use lots of encouragement, especially when you see that your children may be discouraged or frustrated. When you encourage your children, they will see that you have faith and confidence in them. Talk to your kids about how they can be more successful. Encouragement will help your children face situations with more confidence. Remember that children believe what you tell them, so call attention to positive qualities.

Use encouragement that aims at self-reward. “You made a good choice because you knew it was the right thing to do. I hope you feel good about yourself.”  Teach your children not to do the right thing just because someone is dangling a carrot in front of them.  Do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. When you do the right thing — when you make good decisions — when you behave in a responsible manner — you feel good. You learn to value yourself. We have drifted so far away from this philosophy in our society. We need to remind our children of the true value of responsibility. If you can accomplish this lesson with your kids, you will be giving them a precious gift that will be a treasure for their entire lifetime

Resolve to be consistent.

For most parents, being consistent is extremely difficult. Consistency means follow through. Mean what you say and say what you mean. Consistency is the key to teaching self-discipline. Children learn to make correct decisions by being able to predict the consequences of their decisions. In order to learn how to make better choices about their behavior, children must see the cause-effect relationship between how they behave and what happens to them. In order for your children to predict the consequences of their behavior, they must be able to predict what you will do. “If I behave this way, what can I expect from my parents?” Children must know what you expect from them and what they can expect from you. Children will learn this cause-effect relationship more quickly when you behave consistently.

You can significantly improve your relationship with your children by being more positive and more consistent. Tell your children that you expect good behavior from them. Then recognize them for doing well. Children do better when they have rules and structure. Expect your children to cooperate and share. Expect your children to listen and follow directions.

Treat misbehavior every time it occurs. If you tell yourself  “It’s not that big a problem,” or “I’m too tired to deal with this now,” you are only making it worse for yourself in the future. Will you be less tired in ten minutes? When misbehavior occurs, deal with it now. If you let it slide, you and your child will pay the price later.

Resolve To Have Patience With Your Children

Patience is a virtue that will help you be more consistent and positive.  Have patience for the time it takes to see a change in yourself and your children.  Parents want quick changes — children do not.  Children do not change misbehavior patterns easily. Just because you decide to be more positive and more consistent, your child’s misbehavior will not change overnight. This is where most parents fail.  A few days is not long enough to test a new idea. Some methods take weeks to show improvement.  Be patient.  Remember they are just children.  Give it time and you will see the change you are looking for.

Any New Year’s resolution means a change in our behavior or attitude. For most of us, change is a difficult process. It is often helpful to think about a change in three parts. First, be aware of what you want to do differently. Realize that if you want different behavior from your kids,  then perhaps you need to be doing things differently. Keep your focus on being positive, consistent, and patient. Next, make the commitment. Just promise to do it. Your family is worth it.  And finally, practice.   If you’ve had a bad day, put it behind you. If you become a little negative, or if you have a lapse in consistency, or if you’re short on patience, regain your balance. Being positive, consistent, and patients aren’t always going to be easy. If you slip back into old habits, do not criticize yourself. Start fresh tomorrow. Think of the New Year ahead and all the rewards that await you and your children in the future.

Happy New Year!

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