We’ve been talking a lot about resolutions these days. Goals to establish for the coming year. Reviewing the last one. And wondering which resolutions matter the most. It’s no different here on SSBE. Except instead of the typical ones, let’s examine positive parenting resolutions.
We can all stand to improve our parenting. What better way than to start with positive parenting tips you can actually keep.
Positive parenting resolutions
Choose compassion over anger.
I heard this fantastic saying that our kids aren’t giving us a hard time. They’re having a hard time. Makes a difference in the way you see it, doesn’t it? Rather than seeing our kids as another nuisance, guide them through their difficulty. They’re not misbehaving out of malice. They don’t know how else to better manage their feelings.
Kids have a hard time making wise choices when they’re upset. They’re not able to develop self-discipline when they’re crying or isolated in time out.
Instead, when your child is too upset to even talk, focus on reducing his anger and bringing him to a calmer state. The goal isn’t to get him to stop crying but to calm down. Because only in that state can he learn anything. Beyond that, he can’t process any lessons you’re teaching.
I’ve since learned to keep my mouth shut when my kids are crying. I save the teachable moments for when they’re actually able to hear and understand. In the meantime, I offer a hug and focus on calming them down.
Choose compassion and empathy over anger, threats or punishment. You’ll not only build stronger relationships, you’ll also decrease future tantrums and outbursts.
Build a strong parent-child relationship.
Speaking of relationships, one to focus on is with your child. Your relationship says so much about how your child interacts with you. For instance, does he misbehave without caring what you think? Then your relationship needs strengthening, not more strictness or house rules.
Deep down, the only leverage we have over kids is love. They’re born wanting to please us. Hone that inherent desire, as it’s an important one to cultivate. Because, yes a child can follow the rules from fear of punishment. But he’s much more likely to be consistent if he’d also feel guilty for disappointing you. For letting you down, or breaking his end of the bargain.
Show your unconditional love.
It seems silly to question our love for our kids. Of course we love them! we think. But sometimes our actions don’t show it. Focus on loving your child no matter what. For instance, don’t shame, bully or criticize your child. Hold off on the sarcasm. They don’t need anyone making them feel bad about themselves.
And praise your child’s positive behavior. Sometimes we harp on them for every misbehavior and tell them ‘no’ a zillion times. But what about the times they behave, all on their own? Find those moments, and praise your child. I tell my twins, “I like how you two are playing” or pat them on their backs when I catch them reading a book. Praise for positive behavior are so much more effective than reprimanding the negative ones.
Another thing, when they do misbehave and admit their faults, thank them for that. Before you fix the problem or think about what you’re going to do next, thank him for telling you the truth. He could’ve held the truth from you, afraid of the consequences. He could’ve lied. But he didn’t, and for that he deserves thanks.
You can say, “Thank you for telling me the truth—I appreciate that. Next time you’ll need to be more careful about throwing the ball hard so you don’t break things. Here, help me move the other breakables.”
Other ways to show your unconditional love is to accept your child for who he is. Don’t worry about how different he is from you, or that he’s not interested in the same things you are. Listen to him without offering your opinions. Let him be, and he’ll know he can come to you for anything.
I’m excited about what the new year will bring. But no matter when you read this, you can always apply these principles. Choose compassion over anger and you’ll see near-instant results and changes in your interaction. Build a strong parent-child relationship that leverages your child’s innate desire to please you. And love and accept him for who he is, imperfections and everything.
Parenting is no easy feat. Nor is it something you can measure, like the weight on a scale or the dollars in your savings bank. We’ll always have good days and bad, and we can never master it like we could other resolutions. Still, it’s one of the most important goals we should aim for, new year or not.
Read more topics on parenthood:
- THIS Is Why Your Child Is Testing You
- Parenting Mistakes: Judging Your Child’s Emotions
- How to Create a Close Relationship with Your Child
- How to Give Your Child a Sense of Belonging
- Parent Child Connection: Why You Need to Be Your Child’s Biggest Influence
Tell me in the comments: What positive parenting goals would you like to have in the coming year?