The One New Year’s Resolution Every Parent Should Keep

As 2012 draws to a close and 2013 approaches, it’s natural for people to make New Year’s resolutions. The typical ones include losing weight, saving money, and making healthy lifestyle changes. But if you’re a parent, here’s one you may not have considered: “Making parenting less stressful.”

Is stress-free parenting even possible? Yes! You simply need to know the path to take.

Remember, getting to any destination requires knowing where you want to go and then boarding the train that will take you there. The old story about Oliver Wendell Holmes illustrates this point:

As the train conductor made his way down the aisle, the Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, Oliver Wendell Holmes, saw him coming. The forgetful Mr. Holmes reached into his pocket, then into a second pocket, then into a third pocket.

By the time the conductor approached the then fretful Mr. Holmes, the conductor said, “That’s all right, Mr. Holmes, I know who you are. When you get home and find your ticket, just mail it in.”

Mr. Holmes replied, “You don’t understand. It’s not the ticket I’m concerned about; it’s where I’m going.”

Today’s parents have two “trains” of discipline from which to choose. The older approach uses rewards and punishments—the same kind used with animals. Its fuel is manipulation in the forms of bribery and force aimed at compliance. Its ultimate goal is obedience. This train leads to dependence while the passengers endure stress, resistance, and poor relationships.

Parenting without Stress advocates a more modern approach for the parenting experience. It uses more efficient fuel and travels to a more enlightened destination: responsibility. Its passengers experience positive relationships, effective parenting, and joy in the journey.

Which train do you prefer to ride?