The Top 10 Parenting Resolutions to Make in 2016

The New Year is upon us, and many of us have big hopes about how to make this year better than ever.   Often our resolutions are to do things like lose weight, work out more, advance in our careers, etc…   

I have another idea I would like to offer… What if this year, we consider making a resolution that would trump all others – a resolution to become the best parents we can be for the most important people in our lives, our kids.  After all, a child’s relationship with their parents impacts almost every aspect of their lives so let’s do what we can to help our children by being the best parents that we can be.    

As a child therapist and parenting coach, I am often asked, “What are the most important things I can do as a parent?”  Here is my list, my top 10 suggestions and resolutions to help you be the best parent you can be.  Take these steps and chances are you will notice a lot more happiness in your home.

 

The Top 10 Parenting Resolutions to make in 2016:

 

  • Spend more quality time together with your kids.

 

The number one thing children want from their parents is not toys, candy, or more video games – it is quality time with them.  Give your child more interactive one on one time and you will most likely see more smiles and less negative attention seeking behaviors.

 

  • Let your children know how much you love them.

 

It is essential for children to know that you love them.  They need to hear the words, see it in your actions and feel it in their hearts.  Contrary to beliefs of previous generations, you cannot spoil a child by telling them you love them.  Don’t hold back, kids need to hear this from both parents.

 

  • Take steps to increase your child’s self-esteem.

 

For children to develop healthy self-esteem, they need positive feedback, honest praise and encouragement from their parents.  Early on, your voice of praise (and/or criticism) is internalized and becomes their internal compass for years to come.  Fueling their positive feelings helps them believe in themselves and even go farther in life.  

 

  • Yell less.

 

In my private practice, the top reason children report feeling angry and sad is from being yelled at by their parents.  Cut back on yelling and talk things out with your kids and you will most likely see a dramatic improvement in positive behavior.  And of course, never name call, belittle or humiliate your child.

 

  • Hug more.

 

Make hugs, snuggles or back pats a part of your daily ritual with your children.  Most kids need the positive physical interaction of hugs.  Don’t we all?

 

  • Avoid power struggles.

 

Do what you can to avoid the power struggle trap.  Make clear rules, write them down, talk about them with the family and be consistent.  This will help you get out of constant negotiations and power struggles with your children.  

 

  • Model the behavior you expect from your children.

 

More than anything else, children learn not only from our words, but mostly from our behavior and actions.  For example, do you want your child to be more compassionate and respectful towards others? Take a look at yourself, are your interactions with others compassionate and respectful?  Model the behaviors you would like to see in your children.

 

  • Get outside and get active with your kids.

 

We all need to get outside, enjoy the fresh and get moving more.  Turn off the TV, put the video games away and get outside and play with your kids.  Do anything that sounds fun and will get you outside.  Have fun and enjoy our beautiful environment!

 

  • Do things to create more positive memories.

 

Kids remember the special moments you share with them and often look back on these times with nostalgia.  Time goes so fast and our kids will be grown before we know it.  Make the most of everyday and do things that will add to their memory bank of positive memories.

 

  • Take care of yourself so that you have more to give back to your family.

 

As parents, we need to take care of ourselves so that we can have more energy to take care of our family.  Make sure that you are taking steps to rejuvenate your personal well of energy.  You will feel better about yourself and your kids will learn the importance of self-care.

As parents, it is up to us to facilitate making positive changes in our families.  By making resolutions and taking steps to be our best as parents, we are showing the people we love most that they are the most important people in our lives.  I know this is at the top of my list!
Anya Beebe is a licensed professional counselor, art therapist, certified COPE parent trainer and mother of two.  In addition to running her private practice and the Whole HeARTs Family Center, she has also been interviewed internationally for her published research and has been a parenting expert on Channels 7 and 9 in Denver and has written for Colorado Parent Magazine.  Anya provides child and adult therapy and art therapy, parent coaching, and creative personal growth workshops. For more information, please visit www.WholeHeartsFamilyCenter.com

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