Here are ten suggested parent resolutions for the New Year, with the intention of making your life simpler, easier and better for everyone:
1. Resolve that one day each week will be a day without television, videos, computers, and electronics of any sort. Shut the things off. Reclaim your homes.
2. Resist the pressure to become your child's day planner, social secretary and entertainment organizer. Allow for days where nothing is planned. Celebrate boredom! Don't protect your child from a day with nothing to do. Day after day filled with adult-organized activities and events destroys any possibility of creativity or self-discovery. Don't allow your child to become the center of your universe.
3. Play together, fantasize together, and get creative together using only the simplest of materials: old clothes, a cardboard box, crayons, paper and glue. Make-up characters and stories - together.
4. Get out of your child's way. Provide her with time, either alone or with friends, that is largely unsupervised and where an adult will only intervene when the screams reach a high decibel level. Teach them to trust in themselves. Let them make mistakes and experience the consequences. Stop rescuing.
5. Intentionally deny your child something he "really wants". Don't just delay its acquisition but never allow the desired object into your home. Have conversations about the experience of disappointment. Share your own experiences of how it feels to not get something you "really want".
6. Plan a long weekend away for you and your spouse and resist the urge to check in by phone every hour. Trust me -- your children will survive and everyone will benefit.
7. Don't buy into the "more is better" culture. Almost always less is more.
8. Remember what life before children was like. Commit to having a life of your own with your own activities, friends and interests. It's not only good for you but a great model for your children.
9. Worry less. Almost all problems self-resolve in time and the small percentage that don't probably couldn't have been prevented in any case.
10. Have faith in something and share it openly with your children. It can be God, the Universe, Love or the inherent goodness of your fellow man. It's one of the greatest gifts you can pass on to your children.
Application of even a few of these resolutions is guaranteed to make yours a much happier New Year!
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