A New Year’s Resolution

The eyes of so many parents tell the tale of fatigue, confusion and love. There is so much to do but so little time. Here is my resolution for this year. I hope it helps you.

The goal of every parent must be to encourage independence while discouraging both dependence and co-dependence. Dependence leads to low self-esteem, limited assertive communication, devalued feelings, poor boundary and limit setting behaviors and a lack of resilience. When independence is not supported problem solving, free expression, equality and healthy communication all suffer.

Signs of a healthy life balance include contentment, a zest for life, flexibility, resilience, a tolerance for stress, a sense of purpose and a healthy attitude at both work and play. When parents do not support the mutual sharing of feelings, thoughts and values, balance is difficult to achieve. The foundation of a healthy balance is an ability to discuss and accept your child’s feelings while also respecting your child’s boundaries. By nurturing resilience and setting reasonable rules a parent fosters independence, responsibility and decision making.

The first step in maintaining balance is to recognize, understand and respond to stress. Without this capability parents and children are prone to withdrawal, depression, anger and isolative behavior. When stress is managed effectively skills can be developed to allow both parent and child to trust their feelings and retain their own perspective while continuing to support one another.

The second step is to explore and clarify your own feelings. This allows you to respond to your own needs by understanding your own thoughts and actions. Once your personal needs have been met you are ready to support another. Focus on support that is kind, factual and optimistic. Non-judgmental support allows you to maintain your viewpoint while allowing the person you help to retain their own perspective and independence.

The final step to a healthy life balance is the ability to express gratitude and personal emotion while continuing to dream.