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My Parenting Resolutions for 2012

This year, make a resolution that helps your whole family.

With the new year just around the corner, quite literally, I found myself in a reflective mood when I sat down to write this week’s column. New Year’s Resolutions were on my mind, as they may be on yours as well.  In the past, I’ve promised myself many efforts at self-improvement, from losing weight to stressing less. But this year, I thought I’d think less about myself and more about how I can impact my family. .  I mean, nobody is perfect. And the new year gives us the perfect excuse to think about these ways we aren’t perfect in a constructive way.  I found myself wondering if there are resolutions I can make that help me to be a better parent and person.

Turns out, once I got thinking about it, I found lots of places to focus my improvement efforts this year. Maybe I won’t accomplish them all, or even be able to juggle them at once, but I can at least set out to do my best. So here are my parenting resolutions for 2012, in no particular order.

I Will Be More Patient

Not just with my daughter when she spills her dinner all over the floor. Or with the dog when she’s tearing apart the mail. No… I will be patient with everyone. Including myself.  As I said, no one is perfect. When I or someone else makes a mistake, being patient is just one way I can lead by example for my daughter. Besides, if I find that Zen center of patience, I’ll stress less. And who doesn’t want that?

I Will Let My Daughter Express Herself

Putting my perfectionist tendencies aside can be tough, but when my daughter is playing “wrong” with her toys, I promise not to stop her. I will let her dress herself, read books upside down, and fall asleep wearing her sneakers if that’s what she wants. I won’t make everything “perfect” all the time; I’ll let her become her own person without my interference.

I Will Take My Own Time Outs

I really believe that we are better equipped to handle everyday parenting tasks when we have the time to be “whole” people. I’m more than just my daughter’s mom, and by embracing those other parts of my life, I am stronger.  I promise to take time every day to enjoy a hobby, fun activity, or quiet moment of relaxation… whatever is most needed.

I Will Trust My Parenting Skills

We’ve all been in a situation where someone else has tried to tell us how to raise our kids. And maybe, on occasion, you start wondering if you might be wrong. Having confidence in how your raise your children is important… but also remember that no one has all the answers. Be confident in your decisions and learn from your mistakes in the future, but don’t let other peoples’ influences have a major effect on how you interact with your kids.  You really do know them best.

I Will “Talk” To My Daughter

Most days, I find myself telling my daughter what not to do or giving her instructions for our next activity of the day.  Instead, I promise to take some time to just talk to her.  Ask her questions. Give her some options. She’s young still, but during the coming year, she’ll be growing every day. If I cultivate the seeds of communication now, we’ll both benefit from it for years to come.

I Will Remember to Cherish the Little Stuff

Days can be hectic when you’re a parent, and sometimes I lose sight of the good things. Instead, I wind up worried about the bills I have to pay or making that doctor’s appointment on time. Yes, we all have stuff to do, but I promise this year not to let my tasks overshadow the simple joys of daily life. Every day, I share special moments with my family in unexpected ways. I’m not going to let these zoom by me without a second thought in 2012.

What are your resolutions this year? Are there parenting habits you would like to adopt… or get rid of?  Get some more ideas from Parenting’s article on Mom and Dad Resolutions from New Year’s 2011 or take Baby Center’s 2012 Parenting Resolutions poll just for fun. Happy New Year

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