Creative Child

5 New Year’s Resolutions That Will Give Your Child What He Needs Most

by Deborah Song


2. Mention something they do right each day. How many times do we tell our kids what they do wrong each day? It’s human nature to focus on the negatives and forget to mention the positives. But if you can make a mental note to pay your child a genuine compliment that doesn’t end with a ‘but,’ then you’ll be filling your child’s bucket and making an investment into fulfilling his most important need. Just remember to be genuine. False flattery may seem like an oxymoron for parents who truly believe their kids are the greatest, but try to give unbiased compliments by thinking from the perspective of an outsider. ‘What would aunt Megan have to say?’ you might ask yourself. And where compliments are concerned, it’s best to focus on the effort instead of the result. That way they can work towards something they have control over.


3. If you must criticize, start with encouragement. When a colleague, boss or your spouse criticizes you, does it inspire you to change? The answer to that question is a definitive never. Criticism never leads to change. Kids aren’t any different. No matter how much a situation may warrant a stern reprimand, remember that harsh criticisms harden ears. They don’t open them. It puts kids on the defensive, and they will remember the reprimand and not the lesson. Start instead with an encouraging word by saying something like, “Remember how you shared your toy with your sister the other day? That was great. But what you did right now, snatching a toy out of someone’s hand, that makes someone feel sad.” An encouraging word can do wonders for the psyche. The marked fine line to draw here is that criticism is not the same thing as discipline. Lack of discipline is a recipe for disaster tantamount to the constant drip of disparaging remarks. But there is a way to encourage your child and expose him to the consequences of bad choices.


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4. Spend time doing something your child likes to do. My daughter loves to draw. The only other time she’s happier, is when I draw next to her. Partaking in your child’s interest shows, not tells her, that you are interested in her. And it’s one of the best ways to spend time with your child because you’ll be building your child’s fondest memories. So find 15 minutes out of your day or the equivalent each week, schedule it in like you would any meeting, and give your child some undivided attention doing an activity your child is passionate about. You will learn more about your child spending 15 minutes engaging in an activity she likes to do, than asking her a million questions.


5. When you’re wrong, admit it. Saying sorry is the right thing to do in any situation where you’re wrong, but admitting fault does more than even the score when it comes to our kids. Saying sorry empowers our kids because believe it or not, they compare themselves to us. And it also teaches parents to let go of guilt and have more realistic expectations. If you regret your behavior (what parent doesn’t?), simply tell your kids that parents aren’t perfect creatures either. The next time they make a mistake, and feel discouraged, they’ll remember that mommy or daddy makes mistakes too. And it will signal to them that it’s okay for them to accept their big gaffe, and move on from it. In being able to relate on a human level, they’ll begin to feel bigger too.

Deborah Song is the founder of, a cruelty-free company committed to creating travel accessories that help travelers journey with ease, efficiency and elegance. She loves to travel the globe in pursuit of good food, wider life perspectives and great adventure stories with her kids. Deborah is a Canadian-born, mompreneur and Los Angeles-based writer, who obtained her master’s in journalism from New York University. You can find her travel stories at

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