It’s a new year and resolutions are in full swing. Perhaps you vow to quit a bad habit? Maybe you want to learn a new skill? The good old diet and exercise regime?
Every January I decide I’m going to clean up my diet. Perhaps this is fueled by the usual over-indulge-over-Christmas, or maybe it’s the determination to be a better ‘me’ this year. But it always starts out the same.
Day 1. I’m going to be good today. Weet-bix and a cuppa tea for brekky, salad and tuna for lunch… I’ll even go for a run today! Tick. I’m all over this.
Day 2. Weet-bix and cuppa tea. Salad and tuna for lunch. Ohhhhh, ice-cream! Well, maybe just a small one….
Day 3. Weet-bix and a cuppa tea. Morning tea with friends – I’ll be good. Just one piece of chocolate cake. The salad will cancel out the badness.
Do I need to go on?
Why is self-discipline so hard? Isn’t there a magic pill that will make us lose weight and not desire the things we shouldn’t have?
Sadly, the way to a healthy lifestyle is the same as it’s always been. No quick fixes. Just chipping away at the healthy eating and exercise.
Which brings me to my point. There are also no ‘magic’ cures to sorting out your children… parenting is just chipping away and not giving up.
Many times, I’ve shared ideas and skills with parents who instantly dismiss it before they’ve even tried it.
“It won’t work. They’ll just say…. They’ll just do…”
Or there are parents who DO give it a go and say “It didn’t work” and throw it away like a piece of rubbish.
Here’s the thing. If you’ve been indulging in the Christmas feasts- wine, dessert, treats, snacks – and decide to go cold turkey, you may well find your diet ‘didn’t work’. Things take time.
If a child has had his parent pick up after him for years and years and suddenly is invited to clean up his own mess – do you think it will instantly work?
Or if she has been nagged and lectured and is used to ‘switching off’, do you think she will suddenly listen?
It’s taken me YEARS to work on the words I use with my children, and I have had the benefit of also practicing them on the students I teach. Just like a diet, you won’t see the results immediately. It takes time. And just like a diet, one day- all of a sudden- you notice some results. A sudden engagement of cooperation! An acceptance of a consequence! An independent task!
Nothing in life that is worthwhile is easy. Hard work and discipline is (unfortunately) the answer to success. And what is more worthy of your hard work than your child?
No quick fixes. Luckily you’ve got their entire childhood to keep practicing.