TalkBack To Vicki Jardine

A TalkBack on Parenting Issues

10 Steps to Make Your Family’s New Year’s Resolutions a Reality December 29, 2008

Filed under: Relationship with your child,Your Relationship with Your Child — vickijardine @ 3:10 am
 May 2009 be your 'best year yet'!

 

dreamstime_66745826So, will you make a New Year Resolution or not?

I  think that we hear words so often that we forget their actual meaning.  Like in the case of the word ‘resolution’ which means:

‘to make a decision, promise, pledge or vow to find a solution to a problem or get a definite outcome and to resolve to make it happen through determination, tenacity and perseverance’

Now, don’t freak out!

That’s good news.  I know it sounds like work.  But think how powerful you will feel when you decide on and carry out a resolution.  Talk about confidence!

And what about your kids?  Think of the confidence they can build through successfully carrying out a New Year’s Resolution!

I mean here is an opportunity for you to actually feel like you are in control of at least one aspect of your life!   Is there anything worse than feeling like things are spiralling out of your control and there is nothing you can do?

Seriously, would you want to miss out on the chance to change some area of your life that you are not happy with.

So I suggest you embrace this opportunity in 3 ways this year:

  • 1. Make a personal resolution for your own life

Use my 10 Steps to Making Your New Year’s Resolutions a Reality and involve your child as appropriate.

  • 2. Make a resolution with your child that you have to carry out together

Repeat the process only in this case you and your child discuss an area of life that is truly annoying for both of you.  Your child needs to feel safe and valued enough to be able to say things like ‘I hate it when you yell at me in the morning’.  And you will need to be able to say things like ‘I can see that it really upsets you…and I am always upset by it too…so let’s find a solution together because neither one of us likes this situation’.  Make sure you two team up against the problem.  Don’t let it be a power struggle.

Then follow the steps below.

  • 3. Help your child make a resolution for their own life.

Ask your child to follow your example in number 1 and choose an area of their life that they can resolve to change.  Remember you are only involved in the working out what some possible problem areas are and your child has the final say about which problem they wish to make a resolution about. 

 

10 Steps to Make Sure Your Family’s New Year’s Resolutions Happen

 

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•1.     Share your idea:

Remember you are your child’s role model.  So share with your child about an area of your own personal life that you are not happy with.  Choose something that is tangible and can be noticed by your child.  They need to be able to see if you made the change or not. 

•2.     Share your Feelings:

Explain why you aren’t happy with this area of your life.  Tell your child how annoying you find it or how it makes you feel tired.  Let your child hear your talk about your own behaviors that you want to change and why.

•3.     Share some possible solutions:

Suggest some different solutions and ask your child if they have any ideas.  They will feel hugely respected by this.  But the value of what you are setting in motion is that they are entering into a ‘problem-solving’ situation in which ‘they’ are not the problem!  Their view of you and of themselves will be altered positively forever.  You will be showing your child that ‘change’ is something everyone does.  You will be giving your child a valuable tool they can use in their own lives.

•4.     Exchange opinions:

This is really important.  You can show your child how something that doesn’t matter to one person can matter a lot to another person.  Allow your child to have an opinion about the problem and/or the solutions.  Let them explain why they like a particular solution more than another one.  Make sure this is dialogue…they speak and you listen and then comment.  You speak and they listen and comment.  It is not a power play.  At this stage of the Resolution process, solutions are being considered and everyone is equal.

•5.     Resolve:

Now since this is your problem, you take the reins and verbalize for your child why you like a certain solution best and why this is the one you are going to resolve to carry out.  Your child needs to hear how you reason it out and how you reached a decision.  You do not need to ask your child for their opinion about your decision.  You want your child to know that it is your decision to make and that you have appreciated their input, but still it is your life and your decision.

•6.     Strategize:

This is so important!  Verbalize for your child what thoughts are swirling around in your head as you figure out how you are going to achieve your resolution.  Jot down some strategies.  For instance, your resolution may be that this year you are not going to leave earrings all over the house and car because it drives you mad trying to find them when the time comes.  So some possible strategies could be to have a special jewellery box in the family room where you can easily just pop them off and put them in there.  Another strategy could be to come straight into the house and go and take them off, before you end up pulling them off just anywhere.  Have a place to put them in the car too.  Or wear earrings that don’t have to come off at all. 

Ask your child if they can think of any other strategies?  Enlist their input to find ways to solve the problem.

•7.     Organize:

This is where you purchase or make or find a container or jewellery box for your earrings, to use that scenario.  You have to be willing to provide the necessary materials to make the strategy work.  Some people get such a thrill from having a plan that they never actually feel like they have to put it into action.  Do not be lulled into a false sense of achievement.  You will end up feeling resolutions are a waste of time.   Make sure your child sees you organizing and carrying out your strategy.

•8.     Review:

Once you have been carrying out the plan for a while be prepared to review it.   Verbalize for your child if you like the strategy and if it is working for you.  Be prepared to change it if you want to or if you think something may work better.  Make sure your child hears you and sees you making these adjustments. 

This is very, very, very, very important….if your strategy is not working….DO NOT ABANDON IT!

Your child needs to observe what you do when a problem-solving plan doesn’t work.  He/she needs to know that it is still important to you and that a solution is important.  Show your child how to be creative about your strategy.  Be flexible and determined. 

Find another strategy and be willing to review it and change it if necessary…until you find one that works.  If you abandon it, you are essentially saying that you do not control your life…that life controls you.  Is this the message you want to send your child?

•9.     Celebrate:

Celebrate you victory over your situation.  Celebrate your success and your determination.  Reward yourself if you like.  This is also very important that you talk about the good feeling you get from solving the whole situation and making a change in your life.  Let your child know how that thing got you down and how proud you feel to have got on top of it…and how all it took was a good plan and some determination.

•10.  Resolve Anew:

This is where you let your child know that it is such a good feeling that you want to make another resolution. 

Why wait till New Year to make changes in your life when you have the power every day!!!

 

 

TalkBack to me.  Tell me what you think about this.

Warmest Wishes….and Happy New Year…..All Year!

Vicki Jardine

 

‘Tis the Season to be Jolly December 7, 2008

dreamstime_69553473Fa la la la laaaaaa    
La la la laaa!

So here’s an idea to make the season even more memorable for your child. Select a favourite Christmas Carol of yours….think back to when you were a little child. Which ones were your favorites? I loved Silent Night for a couple of years running and then when I turned 9 years old I fell in love with ‘The Little Drummer Boy’ (parhump a pump pum…me and my drum). Just make sure it’s one that you love, because you are going to sing it and hear it over and over again this Christmas.

Now sing it to your child and sing it with your child. Make it a celebration. Do sign language with it. Make it up if you don’t know authentic sign language (but you could find out what the signing is for your particular song).

Then each time you sing it the song together, have a big smile and a hug at the end if possible. Of course, if you are driving in the car or something like that then a hug won’t do, so clap or snap or something to signify between you and your child that you are both feeling really ‘happy’.
The idea here is to ‘anchor’ the good feeling you both get when you are singing that song. By ‘anchor’ I mean make a definite link in your mind and especially in your child’s mind between the happy feeling, and the song.

dreamstime_68615091It’s even a good idea with younger children to give them the vocabulary to describe their feeling of joy or happiness.

Young children really only know if a feeling is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and need they need your help to learn words that they can use to express their feelings.

An example of this is when my daughter was 3 or 4 years old she used to say her tummy hurts when she was actually just hungry. She knew the difference between the feelings of hunger and the need to use the bathroom, but she didn’t know how to express it to me. She only knew one word for the two sensations.
It’s the same thing with happiness, joy, contentment and pleasure. We have to give our little ones the words they need to express themselves.

So sing the Christmas Carol and then anchor the good feeling by using a big smile and a hug, snap or clap. Repeat this over and over always remembering to anchor the good feeling to the song and sometimes to describe the feeling of happiness, pleasure and joy for your child.

Now why am I suggesting you do this?

Well even though ‘tis the season to be jolly, it is also the season where the routines get out of sync and there are ‘more things to do’ than normal. I mean, it isn’t called the Silly Season for nothing! Sometimes it can be very unsettling for children, even older children.

You may notice your child’s behaviours escalating more often and you may find your child testing the boundaries just to see if they are still there. And opportunities for ‘joy’ and ‘peace’ seem to go out the window sometimes.

dreamstime_5800111So if you have ‘anchored’ the joyful feelings associated with the Christmas Carol, then when you notice things escalating with your child, when you notice their mood changing and the atmosphere in the home or the car declining, all you have to do is start singing the song.

This lifts your child’s spirits and changes the emotional direction he/she was going in. You can instantly distract your child from their feelings of insecurity this way by focusing their attention on something you have previously established as ‘happy’.

Not only are you changing the mood of your child, but you are establishing a very positive ‘shared experience’. The value of ‘positive shared experiences’ is immeasurable as your child matures.

You know even if your child is older, you can do this. As children get into teenage years you will want to have established as many ‘positive shared experiences’ as you can. Your child will need to know more than ever that the bond between you and them is intact and strong.

 

And the beauty of this little technique is that it costs you NO TIME to implement. You can sing your carol as you put dinner on the table, as you do laundry, as you drive the kids to school, or whenever and wherever you choose.

See!

‘Tis the season to be jolly!!!

So Talk back to me!

Let me know what carols you decided to use.  Let me know if you have any other ideas for making the season jollier for your children and ways to give them the attention and security they deserve without adding drastically to your long list of things to do.

Leave a comment for other moms to see and have your say!

Bye for now

Vicki Jardine