Be Resolution Role Models
As parents, it's important to practice what you preach. "Do you believe in, make, and keep resolutions?" asks Robin Goodman, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and art therapist who has written books on children and stress. "You have to walk the walk and talk the talk to be most effective."
Bring your own resolutions to the kitchen table. "This is a great thing to do as a whole family," Kolari says. "That's how we do it with our three children. Kids look to you to learn how to approach this task."
Each year on December 31, Vicky and Paul Dionne of Morristown, New Jersey, sit down with their two children, Christopher and Elyssa, and toast the New Year with glasses of sparkling cider. While they're celebrating together, they talk about their New Year's resolutions. Vicky might say, "Daddy and I have our resolutions that we're working hard to keep. We make healthy food choices -- we may want that big piece of chocolate cake, but we're not going to have it." Healthy eating is important to Paul, who is a dentist. So is instilling a sense of responsibility. "We talk about being responsible and doing well in our jobs," he says, "and school is their job."
"If what you want is for your kids to be out the door earlier, you need to work on yourself," Dr. Carter says. "I saw that when I was consistently ready at the time I wanted to leave; it was possible to ask my kids to make changes. Let's not ask them to do more than we are willing to do."