Want your kids to have a great 2022? Help them make resolutions!

Posted by Karen on 30th January 2022

Jan. 1 of any year kicks off the start of the Great Resolution: I’ll lose/gain weight. I’ll work more/less. I’ll prioritize finance/romance/exercise. And history says that’s typically followed shortly by massive resignation as people flub up once or twice and then give up their goals for the new year and settle back into old patterns.

Despite adults’ struggles with New Year’s resolutions, experts say the tradition provides parents an important opportunity to work with their kids on setting goals. Making resolutions can teach children lessons that will serve them well their whole lives.

Among other benefits, experts told the Deseret News that making and working on resolutions helps kids:

  • Decide what they’d like to change.
  • Feel more control over their future.
  • Talk to parents about goals and what they’d like more or less of in their lives.
  • Organize both thoughts and actions.
  • Learn to break tasks down to achieve big goals.

“Children often mirror their parents and want to create their own resolutions,” said Matt Grammer, founder and CEO of Kentucky Counseling Center in Louisville, Kentucky. “This is a great opportunity for parents to sit down with their kids and discuss goal setting and planning.”

Goal setting helps parents learn what’s important to their children, and bond with them as a child explains why a goal was picked and how he plans to achieve it, said Grammer, a therapist and dad.

“By setting New Year’s resolutions with your kids, you’re taking the time to show them you’re invested in their future and you teach them how to set themselves up for success in life by discussing how to gain opportunities and overcome challenges,” he said.

His children love writing their resolutions in crayons after they’ve discussed them. And they have a whiteboard on the fridge to mark the milestone dates.

Parenting blogger and mom Elizabeth Hicks said planning resolutions sharpens children’s decision-making skills.

“The more they practice making choices and thinking about their significance, the better they get at it,” said Hicks, who co-founded Parenting Nerd.

Sam Nabil, CEO and lead therapist for Naya Clinics, believes making New Year’s resolutions helps kids form good habits.

“Setting healthy goals with kids is very important, as long as those goals are realistic and enjoyable to do,” he said, noting rewards include learning the power of follow-through and accountability.

What resolutions represent is as important as the individual goal, said Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin of Baltimore, Maryland, a certified Imago therapist and co-founder of The Marriage Restoration Project. They signal that things can be

different than they were, which can be motivating,

“The brain actually enables you to enjoy the future in the present by anticipating the experience. This is a powerful motivator. I have seen children who have been depressed who, when informed about an exciting event months ahead, changed their mood instantly. When one has something to look forward to, they can escape the pain they are experiencing and see that something better awaits,” Rabbi Slatkin noted.

And because resolutions are not accomplished in a day, they also set the stage for a more sustained sense of accomplishment, according to parenting expert and dad Mo Mulla, who offers parents advice online at Parental Questions.

“They allow kids to plan for their future and feel as though they have helped shape it,” he said.

Kids that know how to delay gratification and work toward goals from a young age “become more successful and have better life outcomes, greater educational attainments, a lower body mass index and other positive life measures,” said Tyler Wall, a dad who runs a precious metal e-commerce retail business in Toledo, Ohio. Teaching kids the essentials of planning while they’re young improves their impulse control in many areas of life, he added.

Helping — and then getting out of the way

But resolutions — and the process of creating them — aren’t all equally valuable, experts warn.

Credit: https://www.deseret.com/2021/12/30/22859095/want-your-kids-to-have-a-great-2022-help-them-make-new-years-resolutions?fbclid=IwAR0g3iJInPCHa4BtL6dUhyZSmeihu86aLjkAJIoED1Ro5wltwY8_LNBGHHg