Most people make resolutions at this time of year. And most people break them sooner or later. One way to step out of the "make it/break it" resolution habit is to simply not make any resolutions this year.
Instead, consider setting your intentions. How do you intend to be as a parent this year? Will you take the time to set your intentions purposefully? Will you consciously set a direction that will guide you in all your parenting situations by stating your intentions now?
Following are many possible parenting intentions. You can use them in several ways. Set three intentions for the year and use them for all of 2010. Or pick one a week and change your intention every Sunday. A third possibility is to intend to do all these intentions throughout the year. You decide how to use them or whether or not to use them at all. Regardless, make it an intention.
In 2010, I intend to help my children appreciate that there is no such thing as failure, only temporary results that people can use as feedback to determine their next step.
I intend to fix problems rather than fix blame by maintaining a solution-seeking mindset and teaching my children a problem-solving process.
I intend to aid my children in their struggle with autonomy by creating a balance of power through a shared-control style of parenting.
I intend to remember that I want my children to behave in ways that reflect what THEY now find unacceptable, not in ways that I, the parent, find unacceptable.
I intend to welcome interpersonal skill errors as learning experiences and important opportunities to implement reasonable consequences.
I intend to parent in a way that demonstrates that I believe the only authority children take with them everywhere they go is their inner authority.
I intend to allow my responses to my children to reflect my knowledge that some lapses in self-control are developmentally appropriate. I will remember that they do certain behaviors because they are five or eight or fourteen years old.
I intend to parent in a way that reflects my belief that the process is as important as the product.
I intend to remember that I don't have to punish my children for their anger. They are already suffering enough from the anger churning within them.
When I am stumped and don't know how to respond to one of my children, I intend to ask myself, "What would love do now?" I also intend to listen internally for an answer.
I intend to recall that I can choose to see any parenting situation differently from the way I have been seeing it. I will remember that perception is always a choice.
I intend to relax, remembering that relaxing does not mean resigning.
I intend to make my approach to parenting reflect the notion that raising a child is more about drawing out what already exists in a youngster than it is about putting in something to fill perceived deficiencies.
I intend to remember that "being right" doesn't work.
I intend to parent as if I believe that a child's I AMs (I am athletic, I am creative, etc.) are more important than his or her IQ.
I intend to live today as if attitudes were more easily caught than taught.
I intend to help my children and myself stay conscious of the choices we are making.
I intend to remember the adage, "If you want a behavior, you have to teach a behavior," and I intend to put that adage into practice in my home.
I intend to see the hurting child in the child that hurts others.
I intend to "be" the change I wish to see in my family.
I intend to talk less and listen more.
I intend to hold my children accountable for their actions and choices with gentleness and love. I will implement consequences consistently and allow my children to experience the related, respectful, reality-based consequences that flow directly from their actions.
I intend to make myself dispensable and assist my children in becoming increasingly in charge of themselves and their own lives.
I intend to refrain from making my children wrong for their choices, even as I hold them accountable for their actions.
I intend to recognize that my children are in my life as much so I can learn from them as they are so they can learn from me. I will be open to the lessons my children offer me and honor them for helping me learn and grow.
I intend not to teach my children to have a happy, productive life, but rather to help them choose a happy, productive day.
What are your 2010 parenting intentions? Get clear on them now and put them into action. Best wishes for creating a happy and productive new year of parenting.
Chick Moorman and Thomas Haller are the authors of The 10 Commitments: Parenting with Purpose. They are two of the world's foremost authorities on raising responsible, caring, confident children. They publish a free Uncommon Parenting blog. To obtain more information about how they can help you or your group meet your parenting needs, visit their website today: www.uncommon-parenting.com.