Remember that quality time is about connection, not teaching, so it’s mostly unstructured. Hug your child first thing every morning and when you say goodbye. When you’re reunited later in the day, spend fifteen minutes solely focused on your child. (What do you do in that 15 minutes? Listen, commiserate, hug, roughhouse, laugh, play, empathise, listen some more. Not enough time? What could be more important?)
Stop working and turn off your phone and computer before dinner so you can focus on your family. Eat dinner together without screens and do a lot of listening. Have a chat and a warm snuggle at bedtime every night with each child.
Listen, commiserate, hug, roughhouse, laugh, play, empathise, listen some more. Not enough time? What could be more important?
4. Resolve to role model respect.
Want to raise kids who are considerate and respectful, right through the teen years? Take a deep breath, and speak to them respectfully. After all, kids learn from what we model. If we can’t manage our own emotions, we can’t expect our kids to learn to manage theirs. Not always easy when you’re angry, so remember your mantras:
- “It’s not an emergency.”
- “I’m the role model.”
- “He’s acting like a child because he IS a child.”
- “Don’t take it personally.”
- “This too shall pass!”
5. Resolve to address the needs and feelings driving your child’s behaviour
The most important time to stay connected with your child is when she’s acting out. All “misbehaviour” is a red flag that your child needs your help to handle big emotions or fill unmet needs. Once you address the feelings or needs, the behaviour changes. If you can lead by loving example, redirect preemptively rather than punish (“You can throw the ball outside”), and set limits empathically (“I see how mad and sad you are. No hitting; hitting hurts. Use your words to tell your sister how you feel. I’ll help…”) you’ll raise self-disciplined kids who WANT to follow your guidance.
Sure, your child will make mistakes, and so will you. There are no perfect parents, no perfect children, and no perfect families. But there are families who live in the embrace of great love, where everyone thrives. The only way to create that kind of family is to make daily choices that take you in that direction. It’s not magic, just the hard work of constant course correction to get back on track when life inevitably throws you off.
All “misbehaviour” is a red flag that your child needs your help to handle big emotions or fill unmet needs.
So don’t worry if you’re making the same resolutions every year. That just means you’re keeping yourself on track by choosing, over and over, to take positive steps in the right direction. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself in a whole new landscape. Parenting, after all, is a journey — not a destination. For today, just choose less drama and more love. You’ll be amazed at how far that takes you.
And if keeping these resolutions sounds like too big a lift, that just means you need more support. This is some of the hardest work anyone ever does. Figure out what you need to give yourself every day, to help you stay on track. Would it help you to have inspiring parenting audios to listen to, or a book to read? Would seeing a parenting coach or counsellor help? Have you thought of taking my self-paced Online Course, which is gives you a wealth of resources to transform your family? Giving yourself support is not selfish. It’s the best gift you could give your family.
Thank you for all the hard work you do, every day, in your home. I’m honoured to accompany you on your parenting journey, and I look forward to supporting you in making 2022 the best year yet for you and your family. May this year be filled with countless moments that take your breath away.
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