The week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is traditionally a time of reflection. Many adults are evaluating how well life went this year, and are making decisions about what they hope to change or accomplish in the year to come. What about our children? Should they be making New Year’s resolutions too?
As a child I was pleasingly plump. New Year’s weight loss/diet resolutions with my mom, began in 2nd grade so I could get ready to choose an Easter dress from the regular size rack instead of the chubby girls. While my fellow students were eating hot lunch, I was chewing on Ayds, a 1960’s weight loss candy and eating a half of a tuna without mayo sandwich from a brown bag. Every January, (and a few additional times through the year), I’d be on a new diet.
I felt different and less than as a child and different and less than followed me to adulthood. A goal that was really designed to help me left me feeling like a failure. Eventually, it was less about the weight I carried on my body, and more about the emotional baggage that weighed heavily on my soul. I’ve come along way managing self-doubts, but they still rear their ugly head from time to time.
Childhood beliefs we download from parents, teachers, peers, society and other influencers, create the lens through which we see the world. Those beliefs can build us up or limit us and become a source of stress. Stress in kids shows up as fear and worry, headaches, stomach aches or other ailments and lack of focus and ability to problem solve. Some kids feel anxious about homework or tests, have a hard time making friends, or struggle with new routines or subject matter. Unmanaged stress leads to depression, anxiety or eating disorders, substance abuse and suicidal thoughts.
If you are considering a conversation about New Year’s resolutions with your child, here are three recommendations:
Be mindful of the beliefs and messages you are sending your child.
Ask how you can help support their areas of struggle. Here’s a suggestion to get the conversation started… “I can see you are struggling with…How can I help you?”
Consider a stress management workshop for your child. Empowering your child with tools can help build self-regulation skills, teach them to listen to their body and help them build a foundation for success.
Kids may not remember the details of every conversation you have, but they will remember the way you made them feel. They will thrive when they feel safe, secure and loved without conditions.
About the Author: Deb Timmerman, RN HTP is the co-creator of the Simply Successful Program.
To read her bio, click here.