Friday, January 13, 2017

6 Small Changes Parents Should Make in the New Year -- by Guest Author Sarah Hamaker

The start of a new year brings New Year’s Resolutions, usually big things like lose weight, exercise more, save money, etc. But it’s often the small things that make a bigger difference—and are much easier to implement and stick to than the more substantial resolutions.

Six small changes parents should resolve to do this year.

Pay attention to the small moments. When I ask my children what they remember about a certain event or holiday, they usually pick something minor, like having hot chocolate for breakfast, than something huge, like a particular gift. This year, notice those small moments and cherish them—those are the moments that will warm your heart for years to come.

Focus on relationship first. All too often, parents over-emphasize behavior, and end up spending 90% of their interactions with their children yelling or disciplining. While children do need correcting when misbehaving, if you’re not cultivating closeness with your sons and daughters, punishing will soon define your relationship. Take time each day to have mini-interactions with each child. Simple ideas include:
  • Greeting him at breakfast and when he comes home from school
  • Hugging or other physical touches
  • Listening to her talk about her day
  • Sharing something you thought he might enjoy (a joke, article, website, etc.)Spending a few minutes just snuggling or sitting close beside her.
Keep your eyes on the future. When we’ve set our goal as raising an adult, rather than raising children, we will think and act differently. Remember what you’re doing, what you’re trying to accomplish, and that will help you navigate the rough patches with more confidence and calmness.

Don’t sweat the mistakes. You’ll have plenty of missteps on this parenting journey, but so did your parents, and your grandparents—and so will your children when they become parents. This doesn’t mean you won’t try to do better next time, but when you flub up, admit it and move on. Dwelling on the mistakes can paralyze you as a parent, which can lead to even bigger ones.

Remember who’s in charge. You’re the parent and the adult in the relationship, which means you’re the one in charge. This doesn’t mean kids don’t get a say in family affairs, but it does mean that the buck stops with mom and dad. As the one in charge, some of your decisions will be met with cheers and some with jeers. Some will be popular and some will cause a mini-riot. That’s what comes with being the leader, but kids need a leader who’s not afraid to lead.

Embrace your calling. Sometimes, it’s wearying to be the one in charge, to discipline consistently, to put up with snarling teens or temper-tantrum-throwing toddlers. But being a mom or dad is your calling, so take a deep breath and surrender to motherhood or fatherhood.

In 2017, you’ll have days when you want to trade in the unruly bunch of kids for the life of a carefree single. You’ll have days when you’re so proud, you might burst a button. You’ll have days when you’re so exhausted, you climb into bed without having accomplished a single thing other than keeping the kids alive. You’ll have days when the love you have for your kids overwhelms you.

In the midst of all of those days, keep in mind these six simple ways that can revolutionize your parenting.
End Sibling Rivalry by Sarah Hamaker

About my guest, Sarah Hamaker

A mother of four, Sarah Hamaker is a certified Leadership Parenting Coach™ and a trained Biblical Parenting coach through the National Center for Biblical Parenting. Sarah blogs about parenting on her website, her articles on parenting have appeared on and in the Washington Post’s On Parenting blog.

Connect with Sarah Hamaker

No comments: