3 Balanced Parenting Resolutions to Make in the New Year
Make a Balanced Parenting Style Resolution
Once again, we’ve flipped the calendar to the start of another New Year. Many of us are looking for new ways to improve ourselves and better the lives of those around us. When it comes to parenting styles, the New Year’s holiday doesn’t have to be the only time we make resolutions. I know I like to reflect on my own parenting and adjust the choices I make throughout the year. Regardless of all the different (and sometimes trendy!) parenting styles out there, a balanced parenting style is timeless. Maybe you’ve heard of balanced parenting described as “Lighthouse Parenting.” It’s a phrase coined by our Center’s own Dr. Ken Ginsburg that’s informed by the research about how adolescence is a time of discovery and exploration. Lighthouse parents (and other caring adults) support young people by guiding them to safety while preparing them to navigate the rough waters they may encounter. Commit to a balanced parenting style this year with these three easy resolutions. Watch as it positively impacts your family.
Resolution 1: Offer an Abundance of Love and Support
This should be an easy resolution to make. Everyone loves to be loved. And the holiday season serves as a reminder that it’s as much fun to give as it is to receive. The love parents express also acts as the most protective force in our children’s lives. That’s because it helps them know they are worthy of being loved. It helps them build a foundation for behaviors and emotions that will affect how they enter future relationships. When was the last time you said “I love you” to your teen? How often do you give hugs, kisses, or that reassuring hand on the shoulder? How do you show them you see the best in them? There are many ways to clearly express your love and support, and the benefits are limitless. Providing loving environments for our children improves their personal well being and builds stronger communities for all of us.
Resolution 2: Set Sensible Boundaries and Rules Together
One of the most meaningful things we do out of love is to keep our children safe. Our children are secure when we set clear boundaries based on safety and values. But adolescence is a time for children to test limits (and for adults to learn how to react when they do). Testing limits and making mistakes helps young people figure out their values. Mistakes made now lead to better prepared kids later. And well-prepared children strengthen their families, communities, and broader society.
Start by telling them that your love for them makes you want the very best for them and motivates you to keep them safe. They’ll be less likely to feel you’re trying to control them or stop them from having fun when they know you are on their side. Explain that rules are a fact of life for everyone. Let your kids join the process by asking them what they think is reasonable. Remind them you’re willing to negotiate – to a point. Make your expectations clear, and let them know there’s no negotiating when safety or morality is at risk. Review the new limits as well as the consequences for ignoring them. Tell them that as they earn your trust by following the limits, you will revisit the rules you’ve set together.
Resolution 3: Make Open and Honest Communication a Priority
Every conversation you have with your child is a chance to help guide them. Ensure they want to talk with you by making open and honest communication a top priority. Start talking openly when they are young. Make chats with them routine, rather than only when something bad has happened. Stay calm and avoid overreacting to anything that catches you off guard. Watch your tone of voice and choice of words. Most importantly, listen to them. Hear them. Let them do most of the talking. Make sure you encourage a two-way conversation rather than a top-down lecture. Teens who experience open communication by parents and caring adults are more likely to avoid peer pressure, feel better about themselves, and build resilience.
Resolutions Lead to Success
A balanced parenting style is proven to lead children to succeed in many areas. Children in households that practice balanced parenting have better mental health, get better grades, display safer driving behaviors, and are less likely to use drugs, engage in violence, or bully, among other positive results. These resolutions will help you develop closer relationships and better communication with your children. Be proud that your resolutions will help your children become the best versions of themselves along their journey into adulthood. An added bonus? Those benefits don’t just apply to your immediate family. They extend to all of the people you’re connected with in your community. Because supporting our teens strengthens society.