2014 resolutions don’t just have to focus on dieting and exercise; you can set valuable
intentions for your parenting too. Your resolutions for the coming year
shouldn’t be vague promises to ‘spend more time with the kids’,
but attainable, realistic goals for improving the emotional and academic
support you are able to provide. The key is in the daily routines; small
changes here can really lead to big improvements in your family life.
Take time each day to really listen to your students. When they have problems
academically or socially, ask them for explanations and listen attentively.
If your student is shy or going through a phase where communication is
tough, don’t give up or become frustrated. Continue to ask open-ended
questions even if all you get is a shrug or an “I don’t know.”
It’s important to keep channels of communication open at all times
and to listen without judging.
Stay the course
When it comes to getting a couple of more minutes of computer time, or
moving back curfews, children have better negotiating skills than politicians.
It can be tough to stay the course when you are being nagged and hounded,
but it’s important to set firm boundaries.
If you’re not sure about the ‘No’, then put off the answer
with “I will have to think about it”. If you have said no,
then stick to your guns.
Take better care of you
I call this the ‘oxygen mask’ principle. In an airplane, adults
must put their own oxygen masks on before attending to their children
and you need to take care of your own needs in other situations too. You
can’t be a great parent if you are stressed out or unhealthy. Take
the time out you need to keep functioning optimally. Whether that means
an occasional night out, exercising more, taking a day off or enabling
your children to be more independent, do what you need to in order to
maintain your composure.
Empty threats and blanket criticism can be the result of understandable
frustration on the behalf of parents but a constructive, non-judgmental
response will often help to solve the situation. For example, if your
student is having trouble academically and has a poor attitude towards
studying, parents become frustrated. Their frustration is borne from a
genuine concern for their child’s future, but continuous arguments
and criticism won’t solve the problem.
Instead, speaking with tutors, teachers and the student in a constructive,
supportive atmosphere can help to create a game plan to improvement that
suits both parents and students and results in positive academic gains.
Laugher really is the best medicine and a family that has fun together
will form tighter bonds. Take time out to enjoy yourselves and have fun
with your kids. Do enjoyable activities individually with your children
and together as a family. Ask your students what they want to do as participating
in planning is more likely to result in participation in the activity.
This year, set yourself really attainable goals that work on your everyday
habits. For example, if your resolution is to spend more time with your
children and to be a better listener, then start a tradition of spending
Sunday afternoons doing something together. You could take each child
to a movie, shopping, or out for a meal. One-on-one time will really help
to give you the space to listen and communicate.
Setting attainable, realistic changes that are tangible will mean that
you are more likely to succeed. Small steps in the right direction result
in small victories that are a real encouragement to keeping your resolutions
past Valentine’s day.