It’s January the perfect time to set a few parenting goals for the upcoming year and here are six things you can do that will make a significant impact in the life of your children this year. None of these take significant time or money, and every parent reading this little article has the ability to do all six.
Pray For Your Children
This is at the top of the list partly because “P” just happens to be the first letter in my fancy acronym, but mostly because praying for our kids is THE single most important thing we can do for them! When we pray for our children we gain wisdom, our hearts soften, our patience grows and we bring the needs and concerns of our children to the feet of their heavenly father. Whatever amount of time you spend each day praying for your kids will be time well spent!
Ask Forgiveness When You Get It Wrong
One of the most powerful things you can do as a parent is admit to your children when you get it wrong and be willing to ask for their forgiveness when you need to. This simple (and yet SO hard to do!) practice will build trust, honesty and vulnerability between you and your children and helps set the stage for them to practice doing the same thing in their relationships.
Remember What’s Important, And Forget What’s Not
You’ve heard it said other ways: Major on the majors and minor on the minors. Pick your battles. The list of things that are important in life is long enough without our need to add a whole bunch of additional things to the list that don’t need to be on it. This year, every time you are frustrated, concerned, or feel the need to confront your child about an attitude or behavior, hit the pause button long enough to ask yourself if the issue is important enough to warrant the conversation. It may very well be. In my parenting journey when I took the time to hit the pause button, I was surprised at how often I realized that the issue wasn’t as crucial as I felt it was in the moment.
Encourage, Encourage, Encourage!
One of your roles as a parent is to be your child’s biggest cheerleader. In my 33-year career working with kids and teenagers, I’ve never heard a complaint that mom and dad were too encouraging. Sadly, I’ve heard hundreds of stories about hard-to-please, overly critical parents who left their children feeling like they could never live up to expectations.
Notice Their Baby Steps
Instead of focusing on their shortcomings, pay attention to and call out when they take baby steps in the right direction. They got a “C” on a test instead of the usual “D”…good for them! They did their chores after being asked twice instead of after being nagged for days…let them know you appreciate the effort! Positive reinforcement of progress almost always yields better results than emphasizing where they’re getting it wrong.
Talk When They Want To Talk
Whenever you can, try to have conversations with your children when their “window of conversation” is open. Check out this little Two-Minute Tip to see what I’m talking about.
There’s no secret formula to parenting, but I hope these six ideas prove helpful this year!