12 Common Resolutions Parents Make - and Why They Don't Work
Parents know that their kids are the most important people in their lives.
Whether they're just new parents, or have been at it for a while, they want to do everything possible to keep them happy and healthy.
This is why so many of them make resolutions on what they can do better this year when it comes to caring for their children.
But if you ask the experts, they'll tell you that some of these resolutions might be doing more harm than good. Here's why:
1. I/We will be better listeners.
Most parents tend to always feel like they could be better listeners - which is difficult, especially when you have more than one child vying for your attention.
It's important to remember that not every child wants or needs the same level of attention - some may want to talk about their day while others would rather just go off and play.
Trying to listen to everything your child says can be overwhelming, and it's likely that you'll miss something important if you're constantly switching gears.
2. I/We will stop being Helicopter-Parents and let our child learn from their mistakes.
Resolving to stop being Helicopter-Parents and letting our child/children learn from their own mistakes is not necessarily something you'll hear mentioned a lot but we guarantee it's something that will cross most parents' minds at least once...
This can be hard to do, especially if you're used to stepping in and solving every problem for your little one.
It's also important to remember that children do need some guidance and help - they're not going to learn everything on their own. And if you're too hands-off, they may not feel comfortable coming to you when they really do need help.
3. I/We will allow our child more independence.
As parents, we always mean well... Giving a child too much independence can be a minefield - especially if they're not used to being out of sight.
It's important that you give your child plenty of opportunity for exploration and new experiences, but they should still always have a parent close by.
Resolving to give your child more independence is a great goal, but it's not always easy to put into practice. Especially if your child is young, it can be hard to trust them to do things on their own
4. I/We will be more patient.
No one thinks they have enough patience when it comes to their children, but when parents actually make a resolution to be more patient with their children in the year ahead, they tend to be setting themselves up for failure.
How can you put a time limit on something that doesn't need a timeline?
If "patience" is what your child needs from you right now, then that's what they should get.
The problem with resolutions like this is that children don't know how long it will take until Mum stops shouting or Dad's not mad anymore. All they know is that things are really bad right now and want them to stop.
5. I/We will stop yelling.
This one is different; yelling isn't that effective when it comes to discipline, which is usually what makes parents resolve not to do it anymore.
However, not yelling doesn't happen overnight for most parents. It's a habit that takes both time and practice to break.
A resolution like this can make parents feel like failures if they slip up (spoiler alert: They do), and because of this sense of guilt, they may get frustrated with themselves and end up yelling even more than before.
We wrote an article - 5 Ways To Get Your Kids To Listen Without Yelling which you might find useful?
6. I/We will spend less time on our screens and more time with the family.
Parents know how important it is to make time for their kids, and many of them think that turning off the TV and phone will help.
But if parents suddenly became unavailable because they were busy doing other things like working or even exercising, kids would still feel like something was missing.
Research shows that spending time on screens isn't as harmful as we think, but spending quality time with your family is always better than screen time alone.
What's more, there are plenty of activities you can do as a family without screens involved at all!
7. I/We will stop giving into every single one of their demands (or vice versa)
This is another common resolution among parents who think the answer to everything their child wants is a simple: "No."
As we all know, this can be really hard to do. Children are persistent by nature and they're bound to keep asking until they get what they want.
And when you finally give in, it's only going to reinforce the behavior and make it happen more often in the future.
8. I/We will get stricter with discipline
Parents may think that if they just start disciplining their child more, everything will go back to normal. Unfortunately, this type of resolution can actually have the opposite effect.
If children feel like they're being constantly yelled at or punished, they'll start acting out even more. Discipline is important, but it should be consistent, fair, age-appropriate, and appropriate to the offense. (And they should never be disciplined for things like having a messy room or asking too many questions).
9. I/We will trust our child's ability to handle their emotions
Part of raising a healthy and well-adjusted child is to try to make sure that they are given the proper tools to deal with their emotions.
This means that, as a parent, you have to trust them enough to let them handle things on their own.
Resolutions like this usually don't work because it's hard for most parents to not jump in and try to solve the problem themselves.
10. I/We will stop expecting our child to be happy ALL the time
We all know that one child who seems to be happy and smiley all the time. And we may also know the child who is always sad or angry...
It's normal for children to experience a range of emotions, but sometimes we expect them to be happy all the time - and when they're not, we get upset with them.
Resolutions like this are often impossible for children to keep up with, and it can make them feel like they're never good enough.
The best thing we can do is make sure that they have the internal tools and bandwidth to deal with their emotions (see previous point), and if they don't we make sure to be there for them for help and support.
11. I/We will let our child know that we love them no matter what
Even though this resolution is probably the most important one of all, it's also the hardest to do...
Saying "I love you" doesn't always mean things are okay, and it's often hard for parents to show their love when their child is being difficult.
The truth is, children need to know that they're loved, no matter what - even when they're making bad choices or acting out.
12. I/We will communicate better with our spouse about how we're feeling about parenting
This is a resolution that's definitely worth keeping throughout the year..!
When parents feel like they can't talk to their spouse about anything related to parenting, it only leads to frustration and resentment. And when parents are frustrated and resentful, it's not good for anyone in the family.
By communicating better, you and your spouse can help each other through the ups and downs of parenting. You'll also be able to resolve any arguments more easily because you'll already have a foundation of understanding.
As parents, it can be hard to make resolutions when we're constantly feeling like our children are testing us. But if you take the time to come up with realistic goals for your family, you'll find that they won't always feel like this! And while these may not all happen in 2021 (or even 2022!), try coming up with a few of them now so that next year will seem more achievable.