Maybe it’s just me but I always feel a burst of optimism at the start of a new year. It’s a time to create the possibility of change, a rebirth of expectations for yourself and hope to change some of our less desirable habits.
For parents, it’s an opportunity to explore just how much they are willing to improve. It’s tricky to set a realistic goal without trying to go overboard. In setting a goal, it’s important to take that goal seriously enough but not to not set the bar so high that you set yourself up for disappointment and feel less effective as a parent.
Here are some “sure to fail” goals and how to re-adjust them into winning possibilities:
1. “Lose weight”: of all the New Years resolutions, this one is the most popular.
Instead of setting yourself up for too much pressure on yourself (after all, if you’re reading this as a parent of an Atypical child, you’ve already got your hands full)! How about:
“Plan healthy menus for the entire family. ”
Now that’s a goal that is a win-win. Healthy food= good habits for you and for the kids!
2. “Stop yelling”: here’s another “sure to fail” goal. Sure, no one wants to be a “yeller” but is it impossible to say “stop yelling” and have it work? Not likely.
How about this: I will give myself permission to be upset but remember to stop, breath, reframe what I was about to say or do into a more communicative conversation. I like the STOP method:
Take a breath
Observe what is going on
3. “Be More Organized”: another sure to fail goal if it isn’t properly structured. Let’s try this: let each family member choose one area of organization responsibility so it’s not just on you. For kids: Put backpacks by the front door the night before and for parents: make those lunches the night before.
4. And here is the goal I wish every parent would work on: self compassion.
Parents of Atypical kids struggle with an already overloaded burden. Acknowledging that struggle and giving yourself a hug often (that massage can help too!) will go a long way to make you a better parent!
Here’s to a great 2017!