So your new year's resolution is to be a better parent? It's not that hard if you follow these 10 basic principles, practises and guidelines:
1. Follow your heart
Children sense when adults are being sincere. Besides, you can usually trust your emotions to lead you in the right direction. And you'll model for your children how to communicate honestly.
2. Appreciate each child's strengths and respect limits
All children have intrinsic worth and special qualities that help them relate, persevere and shine an inner light. Similarly, each child has abilities in some areas and challenges in others. Our job is to encourage them to stretch within safe and acceptable boundaries.
3. Honour differences that distinguish each child
Even within the same family, children have their own personalities from the start. Since we can't take for granted that one child will respond like another, we have to get to know and understand the nature of each individually.
4. Set consistent, secure boundaries
Children feel courageous enough to explore their limits when they also feel comfortable that they won't hurt or embarrass themselves. And if you didn't care, you wouldn't bother to teach them how to balance self-control and self-will.
5. Know and respect your own emotional thresholds and physical limits
All of us reach a point when our mind, body or spirit become exhausted and unable to act rationally or react quickly. Children need their parents' best attention and decisions. So taking care of yourself is also in the best interest of your children.
6. Make and keep your own friends and support systems
Life outside of parenting restores energy for the job and takes some of the pressure off you and your children. Relationships, work and recreation can add pleasure and vigour to you while teaching your children the value of being connected.
7. Ask for help: Interdependence is healthier than independence
Modern life is somehow both noisy and isolating. Loneliness is depressing and depression is paralysing. So do the world a favour: teach children the advantages of relationships and support.
8. Spend time with a child when you can't be interrupted
Children want and need our company. They also know when our attention is divided between them and telephone calls, chores or thoughts. Protect some time each day when you can devote yourself to your child's interests.
9. Learn from disappointments
We always learn more from our mistakes than from our successes, especially if we remember that our intrinsic worth is not linked to a bad decision.
10. Value your parental love and guidance as the greatest contribution to the community's security, prosperity and civility
Children who grow up caring to succeed and contribute guarantee a healthier, better-educated, wealthier, stronger and more humane society. We teach most effectively by example.
Check out the New Year's Resolutions that our members are discussing in the EK Forums.