Ten New Year's Resolutions That Will Make You a Better Parent

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Be their advocate and don't give up on them

Appreciate who they are. Every child deserves at least one person who is 110% on their side.

The most important parenting skill is to manage yourself

Intervene before your own feelings get out of hand. Take care of yourself so you aren't venting on your kids. Stay calm, so you can access your own innate wisdom and generosity.

Set limits on behavior

Empathize with feelings (including the feelings they have about the limits you set). Both are important, neither by itself is successful.

Don't take it personally

Whatever your child does, it will be a lot easier for you to respond productively if you avoid getting hooked. Cultivate a sense of humor.

Expect age appropriate behavior

Be reasonable, they're kids. Don't expect perfection, from your kids or yourself, and keep your priorities straight. Your child is taking shape before your very eyes. Her messy room matters much less than how she treats her little brother.

Avoid power struggles

No one wins a power struggle. Don't insist on being right. Help them save face.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure

Make sure your kids' basic needs are met, and let kids know in advance the behavior you expect. Then hold them accountable.

Your child is your best teacher about what he or she needs

From infancy on, every child is unique. Listen more than you talk. Listen with your heart. When in doubt, see it from her point of view.

Embrace change

What worked yesterday will not work tomorrow, so your parenting strategies need to evolve as your kids do. Each of us seems to get the perfect child to learn whatever we need to know!

Discipline, despite all the books written on it, doesn't really work

Because resorting to power plays erodes the relationship. The deepest reason kids cooperate is that they love you and want to please you. Above all, safeguard the relationship.

Dr. Laura Markham
Aha! Parenting.com