7 Parenting Resolutions for the New Year

Establish parenting resolutions that will help you reach your goals.
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It’s easy to get caught up in the same old routine when it comes to parenting. Misbehavior often becomes as predictable as a parent's knee-jerk reaction to broken rules.

Unfortunately, many parents find themselves in a parenting rut as they get stuck using the same old ineffective discipline strategies over and over again.

New Year’s is the perfect time to take a step back and evaluate your parenting strategies.

Consider your child’s behavior, the discipline strategies you employ, and the changes you want to make in the future. As your child grows and learns, your discipline strategies should shift accordingly.

Take time to acknowledge any bad parenting habits you’ve gotten into and establish a plan to create positive change. Here are seven discipline resolutions that can improve your child's behavior and help you become the best parent you can be:

1. Put an End to Physical Discipline

Many parents resort to corporal punishment out of sheer frustration. If you’re against physical discipline—but you’ve found yourself spanking your child—it’s a good time to establish more effective discipline strategies.

Spanking isn’t effective in the long-term and it can even make behavior problems worse. Logical consequences, loss of privileges, and time-outs can be more effective means of discipline.

2. Use Your Inside Voice

If you’re used to raising your voice to get your child’s attention, yelling can be a tough habit to break.

But research is clear that yelling can be just as harmful as spanking. Rather than raise your voice, resolve to stay calm and model better communication skills in the new year.

3. Make Consequences About Teaching Not Punishment

Frustration often leads to punishment, rather than true discipline. Taking away privileges for an extended period of time out of anger, or resigning to make a child “pay” for his mistakes, can be counter-intuitive.

Punishment hurts a child’s self-image and decreases his motivation to behave. Healthy discipline preserves self-esteem while teaching a valuable lesson.

4. Practice Patience

Today’s frenzied world can make busy parents feel like patience is running in short supply. If you find yourself impatient with your child more often than you’d like, work hard to develop a higher tolerance in the new year. A patient attitude not only sets a good example, but it can also help reinforce good behavior.

5. Offer One Warning Instead of Repeated Threats

Giving a child repeated warnings can be one of the hardest habits to break. If you tell your child a dozen times to change his behavior “or else,” you’re training him to tune you out. Commit to only offering warnings when you’re prepared to follow through with a consequence.

6. Create Opportunities for Fun

Having fun with your child can be one of the best ways to reduce behavior problems. Resolve to make time for your child every single day.

Just 10 minutes of one-on-one attention can go a long way to reducing behavior problems. Be willing to get messy, act silly, and enjoy the moment whenever you can.

7. Take Time for Self-Growth

Becoming a better person will help you become a better parent.

Whether you want to improve your physical health or you want to become mentally strong, committing to self-improvement can help you become a better disciplinarian.