I don’t like New Year’s Resolutions.
We are officially two weeks into the new year. For those of you who made resolutions how are they going? For many of you, your resolutions have probably already slipped to the back burner. That’s okay. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
What is a resolution anyway?
1 a firm decision to do or not to do something: "she kept her resolution not to see Anne any more" | a New Year's resolution.
• a formal expression of opinion or intention agreed on by a legislative body, committee, or other formal meeting, typically after taking a vote: the conference passed two resolutions.
• the quality of being determined or resolute: "he handled the last French actions of the war with resolution".
2 the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter: the peaceful resolution of all disputes | a successful resolution to the problem.
A resolution sounds so definite. It’s a hard word. But how about if you work on “goals”? Setting goals are much easier and gives one a little more leeway. Goals for me sounds like a soft word, more fluid.
1 the object of a person's ambition or effort; an aim or desired result: "going to law school has become the most important goal in his life."
• the destination of a journey: "the aircraft bumped toward our goal some 400 miles to the west".
• literary a point marking the end of a race.
Goals seem a bit more realistic. A goal for me is more about the journey, about something I am striving for. Less pressure. I think we all need less pressure.
As we begin 2015 what are some goals you’d like to accomplish? Not resolutions but something you’d “like” to accomplish.
Here are some goals that may work for you;
I think all of these “goals” are very doable. No pressure. There’s a lot of fluidity in the items listed. I’m sure you can develop others that are manageable and will work for you. So, go ahead. Come up with some doable goals. In the end, when you accomplish your goal(s), you will feel really great. =)
Now relax and make 2015 a good one.
The teenage years are the most difficult years for almost all parents. During the adolescent years (13 - 19 yrs) our teens are now concerned with how they appear to others. Their own ego identity is in full swing as they are trying to determine who they are and who will they become. They are moving from childhood and maturing into adulthood. Now they are back in school and being confronted with peer pressure, wanting to be “cool” and also learning responsibility. Moving from childhood into adolescence is a big shift, which for a good portion of teens, isn’t a smooth transition.
Adolescents "are confronted by the need to re-establish [boundaries] for themselves and to do this in the face of an often potentially hostile world."1. This is often challenging since commitments are being asked for before particular identity roles have formed. At this point, one is in a state of 'identity confusion'. As you see your teenager being rebellious, acting out, not following rules, etc. you as parents become frustrated, angry and unsure why the relationship seems so tumultuous.
One reason for the conflict is that us, as parents, want to continue to be the leaders of our teenager’s life. While we should be there to guide and protect, we also need to let our teenagers forage out and begin making their own decisions. They will probably make mistakes, but that is how they will learn decision making. It’s hard for us to watch this happen but as long as you are there to help them, when they need it, you will probably have a better outcome.
Roughly only 22% of high school seniors describe their family communication as positive. Therefore, one area in which parents can help teenagers through this stage is to work on better communications with them. The earlier you begin this process in adolescence the better. Below are some tips that you may find helpful.
Listed above are suggestions to get you started on better communication with your teen. I understand that you may not switch over to all of these suggestion immediately, as many of these are new to you. But if you make a concerted effort to get these incorporated in your daily routine you can count on a much better relationship with you and your teen.
1. Stevens, Richard (1983). Erik Erickson: An Introduction. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press. pp 48-50. ISBN 978-0-312-2581-2
I'm a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist who works with individuals, couples and families. I hope I inspire you to take risks and step out of your comfort zone. You might be surprised what you discover.