A few years ago I shared my New Year’s Resolutions with everyone here at DailyStrength. This was a list focusing on parenting…my approach to parenting…and something I emphasized at that time (and still do) is that while it’s important to think about one’s own resolutions, please borrow any from the list if desired. Now I still look at this list from time-to-time, but in light of the horror that found its way into Connecticut just a couple of weeks ago, I’d like to share my resolutions (with some modifications) with you all again this year.
1. Be the parent. Your child looks to you for guidance and direction. And it's your responsibility to provide them.
“We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future.” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt
2. Practice what you preach. If you tell your child to be considerate of others, step up and do the same. If your actions are not consistent with your words, the words just don't mean a whole lot.
3. Set a good example. This follows a similar theme to an earlier resolution where doing the right thing often teaches your child to do the same. Incorporate physical activity and an overall healthy lifestyle into your life. This is all about keeping yourself in good health...so that you can enjoy many, many years with your child, and your child's child, and so on. And following the sentiment from the previous resolution, hopefully this will create the framework for your child to follow as well.
4. Listen to your child. I’ve found over the years that even though they lack life’s experiences, children often come up with some rather insightful comments. If you don’t listen, you might miss them.
5. Talk with your child. This follows the above-mentioned one where no one wants to be talked to. A greater foundation is created when dialogue goes in both directions.
6. Physically be present. I remember my father being able to make so many of my sporting events growing up and me having an extra bounce in my step seeing him up in the stands. And while my office commitments will occasionally prevent me from making an event, my #1 goal is to be there for each and every one.
7. Respect your child's other parent. It doesn't matter whether you are married or not, long time divorced or just recently separated. The point being here is your child will certainly benefit in seeing the two persons most important in his or her life actually getting along.
8. Encourage your child to reach his/her dreams. We all have thoughts on what we would like our children to do, but our goal should be to help our children follow their own hopes and desires.
9. Don't be too quick to judge. At one time we were all children, making mistakes along the way. So before getting upset, take a deep breath and remember you were once there as well.
10. And don’t forget about the hug. A hug is a simple but very important reminder of the unconditional love you have for your child. And while it may not seem appreciated at the time it occurs, I'm pretty confident most children enjoy receiving one.
- Dr. Jeremy
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