By John Salak –
What’s January without the urge to set some new goals, whether they are called resolutions are not? WellWell has recently reported that two-thirds of adults feel the pressure to make New Year’s resolutions and about half of them do. Nothing surprising here. What may come as a shock is that parents are particularly susceptible to making resolutions and that these goals are generally centered on more effectively dealing with their children.
The University of Michigan recently reported that nearly three in four parents polled claim to be making resolutions that include having more patience, spending less time on phones, developing better consistency with discipline and promoting healthier family habits.
The University also reports that more than half of the parents polled note that their tweens and teens are also setting goals for the new year. These targets are focused on achievements related to grades and school, success in an activity, exercise and nutrition and earning money.
“Milestone occasions, such as the start of a new calendar or school year, present families with opportunities for self-reflection and motivation to improve an area of physical and emotional health,” said Sarah Clark, co-director of the university’s C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.
“Our poll suggests that parents often focus on areas they’d like to improve in their parenting approach, including being more engaged, focusing on their own and their child’s health, and supporting their child’s connection to the broader community.”
In line with this, nearly half of mothers and a third of fathers report making goals to change something about their parenting. This included having more patience and less phone time. Many also set health-related goals that involved providing healthier meals and snacks and exercising more with their children.
The aim is to not only become better parents but to also help their children understand how to achieve goals.
“Setting goals to improve parenting can help parents define their values and priorities and have positive effects on the health and well-being of the whole family,” Clark said.
On the flip side, nearly 70 percent of resolutions set by children focused on improving grades and school performance while a little more than half of kids want to succeed at an activity. About 40 percent of children tied their goals to improving exercise, nutrition and earning money.
Less than a quarter of these young goal-setters focused on building friendships or volunteering.
“Goal-setting helps kids learn to be accountable for their actions and develop a growth mindset,” Clark noted. “Parents modeling goal setting can also teach kids the importance of working toward something and learning from mistakes along the way.”
How often goals are achieved is debatable, but Clark stressed it is important for parents to celebrate their own achievements and support their children in reaching their goals.