There was a wonderful article in the NY Times recently called Happy Low- Key New Year about people who had given themselves permission not to have big, grand ambitions for the New Year, but to keep resolutions small and more realistic. It resonated with me, not because I don’t believe that it's important to think BIG about goals, but in my experience as a parent coach I have found that having large goals for parenting isn’t always necessary.
Time and time again, with clients, I find that the smallest changes can actually make the biggest difference in moving the needle towards change. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to make this happen. What parent has time for that anyway?
When I first connect with parents they are usually looking for some kind of new magical script they can use or a brand new strategy to be the catalyst of the change they’re hoping for. Common challenges my clients present include:
But no matter the challenge or ambition, our work together is the same. We start by identifying what is working in the home, regardless of the challenge parents bring to our work. We do this by reframing the questions to reveal what's going on when...
By answering these questions we stay away from the big grand ambition to parent completely differently and instead we discover solutions that feel realistic and doable (because you are already doing IT).
Recently, I worked with a client who was frustrated that her requests to her son were met with so much resistance. Once she examined when there was NO resistance, she realized that when she connects with him before giving a directive, he is much more cooperative. Viola! No new strategy needed, no big change, just a mindfulness about what was already working and learning to identify when to apply a tool she already had in her tool kit.
You can do this too! Take a few days to collect some samples of what is working even within the challenge you are facing and think about how you can do MORE of that. I promise that this approach is a lot less overwhelming than taking on a massive New Year’s parenting makeover. Save BIG ambitious goals for when you have more time and bandwidth. Like when the kids move out!.
Jenny Michaelson is a PCI,
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