New Year’s Resolution – Take a Minute to Notice What you do Well

Mercedes, a mom who was swamped by worries, came to talk to me about her daughter’s defiant attitude. She was trying many good ideas to turn things around but had a hard time noticing that any of her actions were worthwhile or making a difference.

I thought that the doubts and regrets she was feeling reduced her effectiveness (children usually respond best to a confident parent) and prevented Mercedes from keeping track of which of her efforts were helping things improve.

I suggested that she spend a few minutes every night writing down at least three things she had done well that day with her child.

“THREE things!” she replied to my suggestion, “that will be so hard to do!”

“You could definitely write down more, you do a lot every day,” I responded.

When Mercedes returned for a follow up appointment a few weeks later she reported that her “homework” had been the most helpful idea we had discussed. Taking time to appreciate her efforts had helped her focus and be more confident with her daughter. She now could tell that her daughter’s defiance was slowly but surely improving.

I think all moms and dads suffer from Mercedes dilemma and should add this simple exercise to their list of New Year’s resolutions. Noting three things every night, especially when family life gets overwhelming, can lighten a parent’s emotional load and help them think through challenges at hand.

All my best wishes for a loving and joyful 2015 for you and your family.