By Kathryn Davis Tidd, MSW, LICSW | Counselor | The Village Family Service Center
Every year in late December, millions of people reflect on the last year – their accomplishments, difficulties, and things they didn’t get quite right. Traditionally people think of resolutions (or goals) as a personal or individual task. The social worker and system-focused therapist in me thinks, if you want to make changes, why not involve the whole system (aka, the family)? When each member of the family can share their personal and family resolutions, it sends the message that goals are important and you are willing to help support them while they work on those goals.
Children are reflective little beings – they’re philosophical (especially before bed) and enjoy being included in family discussions. By helping them identify their own resolutions, you are helping increase their ability to stay motivated, be intentional with their time and efforts, as well as develop mastery and a sense of accomplishment.
Here are some ways to include the whole family in setting new intentions for the next year:
- Bring on the family vision boards! Let each person within the family share something they would like to do as a family – within reason – and browse through magazines or print out pictures to represent each person’s idea.
- Ask everyone (yourself included) what their favorite memories were from 2019 in order to reflect on what is most important. Create time for that in the new year – don’t fix what isn’t broken!
- When thinking of goals, make sure they are both achievable and measurable to set everyone up for success. For example, instead of setting a goal of “prioritize school” consider something more specific such as “I will read for 90 minutes every week.”
- Try to partner with your kids to make it as much about connection as achievement. For example, if your child wants to try a new sport, include yourself in the goal by committing to help them practice or set up a schedule for practice times.
When you speak your resolutions out loud, you’re modeling the idea that we all have work to do. Ultimately this can help your children reach out for help – whether it be help nailing a layup or overcoming negative thoughts. Here’s to crushing 2020!
Kathryn Davis Tidd, MSW, LICSW, is an in-office therapist at The Village's Moorhead office. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work in 2010 from University of Texas at Arlington and a Master’s degree in Clinical Social Work from Michigan State University in 2014. She has experience working with people across the life span, from young children through the end of life. Special areas of interest include sexual behavior problems, pregnancy loss/infertility, and parenting skills. In addition to working with children and families, she enjoys running, spending time with her family, being outdoors, cooking, and home renovation projects.