What do you resolve (not) to do?
by Dr. Maureen O’Brien
Posted on Friday, January 3, 2020
Resolutions, by definition, are difficult to keep. Lots of resolutions are about personal goals and revolve around physical health. But as a new year dawns, it feels like an opportune time to reexamine your priorities as a mom or dad. Ask yourself: Are there parenting or family practices that you’d like to change? Or are there behaviors in your children that you’d like to see more of? Most of us would answer yes to both of those questions, and now might be the time to make a short list of actions you’re able to commit to this year.
That said, I would caution you to not overpromise. Parenting is hard enough without adding unnecessary guilt to the ever-growing pile of ‘what ifs.’ Let’s say you want to do more family activities together in 2020. Here are some steps to making that a reality.
- Try to incrementally improve. Having a family game night weekly might be too much of a stretch but perhaps once a month is reasonable.
- Hold yourself accountable by saying your resolution aloud or writing it down. Consider involving ideas from other members of the family. In the family game night example, letting them take turns selecting the game is likely to increase buy-in.
- Write down not just what you want to do but WHY you would want to do it. For instance, family game time gives everyone screen-free time. It also gives your child practice to win or lose gracefully, in private. Both are worthy goals.
- Reflect afterwards on how the experience felt. Did your family laugh together, share memories, or get too competitive? You might need to adjust your plan as you go to reflect your family’s reaction.
With these tips in mind, you might feel determined to make further resolutions as the year goes on. Or maybe one resolution is enough. There’s no right or wrong way to try to improve your family dynamics, and you know your family best. Here’s to a fabulous 2020, whatever you choose to do!