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4 New Year’s Resolutions for Parents

By Renée Adams

December 30, 2020

emotional intelligence, Empathy and Compassion, New Year's Resolutions

Two of the core competencies of Emotional Intelligence (EI) are self-awareness and adaptability. Let’s be brave and ask how honest we are with ourselves and how well we readjust our priorities and behaviors during times of duress? For parents, it is a constant challenge. Every day you might recognize something you could be doing better and face new, unexpected situations. Finding the energy to start all over again tomorrow can even be a battle. With 2021 on the horizon, the timing is perfect to resolve to improve ourselves in some way. Here are 4 ways EI can influence our resolutions for the New Year.

1. Embrace Self-Management and Resiliency

If improving your self-management and commitment to resiliency is at the top of your resolution list (regardless if you’re a parent or not), pat yourself on the back for having heightened self-awareness. Maintaining discipline and self-control is going to be crucial in the coming months before a COVID-19 vaccine is readily available. Projections compiled by the CDC are daunting and the only way we can get closer to normalcy is by adapting to the new normal. Most of us feel COVID fatigue and improving our resiliency will equip us with what we need to manage and overcome it.

And If you have the chance, teach an elderly family member how to video conference, send them mail, and here at the end of 2020, make their New Year feel special while staying safe. These acts of kindness will help our loved ones maintain their own resiliency.

Additionally, parents who have not yet established an effective digital learning space for their children need not procrastinate this responsibility any longer. (Inbound link to digital learning article). We are too close to the finish line to let our discipline waver. Children learn how to have their own sense of self control and resiliency from a parent role modeling these emotional intelligence skills while guiding their children to develop their own. 

2. Accept Mistakes (Self-Empathy)

EI resolutions

Parents are humans and humans make mistakes. One of my favorite quotes is from the actor Alan Arkin who said, “No matter how much time you spend reading books or following your intuition, you’re gonna screw it up. Fifty times.”

This quote rings true for parents who know just how hard the job truly is. Making mistakes is how you improve as a parent, so for 2021, I encourage you to work on accepting the mistakes you haven’t yet made. For example, when you get the kids to school late; rather than react emotionally, make it a lesson in time management for yourself and/or your child. Your kids are going to make many mistakes in their lives and teaching them that failure is healthy and necessary is a way to turn mistakes into something productive and beautiful.

3. Develop Habits of Wellness

This year, it seems the benefits of wellness have started reaching more ears than ever before. With the inevitable frustrations and anxiety that have accompanied the challenges of 2020, many have turned to mindfulness, which might take the form of meditation, yoga, breathing exercises, nature walks, and the list goes on. Start with one day a week and try out different methods to see what works for you.

In order to turn wellness into a habit, keep in mind what I said about self-empathy. It takes time for something new to become second nature and there may be bumps in the road along the way. But keeping with it and finding what works for you and your family can make a world of difference. It’s free, it’s essential, and it can bring your family together in a truly meaningful way.

4. Demonstrate Empathy and Compassion

There are going to be a lot of people in need of help in 2021. In 2020, we hit our second recession in 15 years and we may be headed for another one next year. Many of the families who weren’t hit by this economic tragedy lost husbands, wives, aunts, uncles, and grandparents. There is a national food crisis affecting our friends and neighbors, many of whom never thought they would be the ones asking for help.

In ways that are safe for your family to do so, spend some time giving back to your community. Try keeping in mind the 5 W’s of what, who, why, where, when, and how you’re helping others. This will help your children understand what makes compassion and empathy and what it looks like in real life. Compassion and Empathy are both core EI competencies. These skills are empowering, rejuvenating, and humanistic. As a family, consider donating food or clothing to local causes, and writing notes of encouragement to neighbors, friends, and relatives while reflecting on all that you have to be thankful for. 

2020 has been the year of adaptability. This whole year parents especially have been tasked with finding creative solutions to problems we’d never thought about before. But let’s look ahead to the positives. Taking these 4 suggestions for what might enhance your New Year’s resolutions to heart is a great step towards bringing more EI into your life. I’m confident that by following a strong resolution plan based on EI, you will see a marked increase in your overall well-being in 2021 from this year. I’d love to know what your New Year’s resolutions are and how EI can help you reach those goals?

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