New Year in family: commitments and good intentions
On that list that we have all prepared, mentally or in writing, to receive the New Year, it is convenient that we review what needs to be improved in each house, in each marriage, in each family, and that we help our children to consider what are those internal struggles with which they have to battle. With the support of the family, growing up is, for all, parents included, much easier.
Something red, something new, something borrowed, the twelve grapes after the rooms, without making mistakes, without choking us, and the list of good intentions well tied in the hand. The time has come New Year and, when the toasts and firecrackers were finished, we faced the slope of January with a certain predisposition to win the battle to discouragement.
But beyond the typical commitments, those of quitting smoking, losing a couple of kilos or doing more sport, the New Year gives us an unparalleled opportunity to improve as people. There are no recipes about what we should write in the list of commitments because the fight points are absolutely personal. The secret is to review those aspects of our daily behavior that will not only help us but also make life easier for those around us.
Marriage, the cornerstone
The postmodern society, excessively individualistic, tends to propose as unique areas of improvement those that result in immediate immediate benefit. For that reason, in the lists of New Year they appear so many times intentions as not to smoke, to lose some kilos or to go more to the gymnasium.
Without any of these proposals having anything wrong, the truth is that there are many other commitments that, insofar as they result in the common good, will make everyone's life simpler.
Base for a family to work is for marriage to work, so that the commitments of the father and the mother that go in the line of improving the life of your partner will benefit everyone. We can not set goals too abstract because it will be difficult to verbalize in what specific tasks are going to be broken down. The specific goals, specific to each family and each person, are the ones that must be achieved: have a gesture of affection when entering the house, do such a task that makes the other uncomfortable, bring that detail of eating that he likes so much when doing the purchase...
To draw up the details of the list, we need to make a preliminary examination of conscience, not only of our individual behavior but of our behavior as a couple, that is, it is not about assessing only what each one believes does right and wrong but look at it from the perspective of what your neighbor thinks.
The result of this individual work will be a more careful relationship from which the initial commitment resurfaces with strength. When parents trust more in their marriage, they turn more to their children and education improves thanks to the coherence of the message, which on occasions will have involved many hours of debate.
Much to improve as parents
Among the areas of our lives in which our behavior is crucial for society, we sometimes make the mistake of thinking that it is work, but the reality is quite different: it is our work as parents that will have the greatest impact in the future. And, too often, pressed by the rush of day to day, we do not bother to look back and check how we have done.
Be critical of ourselves It does not mean being pessimistic, falling into the error of thinking that everything is wrong. On the contrary, parents act surprisingly well in situations that appear to us as totally new in unsuspected times and places. However, if we subtract that unpredictable "surprise effect" that education has, we can improve some concrete details in the daily life of the family.
Again, it is important that the list of purposes be very clear and concise. It is the only way to remember what we have set out at the precise moment when we are about to make the mistake. So, better than "not shouting", we can specify "ask please come to the table." Everyone knows where their points of struggle are.
And our children also know them. A nice gesture of humility and confidence is to sit down with our children so that they are the ones who help us to determine which are those points to beat. With enough security, there will be two very repeated answers in most of the houses: dedicate more leisure time and not use both the mobile. Leisure is difficult to manage with current work rates. But perhaps it will be necessary to consider if it is not preferable to spend a day hiking to wash all the curtains of the house. The mobile, vehicle that parents use mostly to maintain their social relationships, can become, if not a vice, itself an element that breaks the moments of family life.
Help children with their lists
Although children know themselves much better than we think, in fact, we tend to have them so "labeled" that they can hardly forget what their defect is, they will benefit from help in determining what aspects they should put emphasis on to improve . What may seem minor in the way of being of our children, is usually fundamental since on the basis of habits the virtues are built that will make them good people tomorrow. The way of working is different depending on the age of the children.
In the case of young children, the character is still moldable if certain habits are being worked on. But we must take into account the way to raise them. If in adults those commitments have to be concrete, in children, much more. Their ability to concentrate is very limited and they do not remember an order for too long either. So, on the one hand, the list should descend to the very specific and, on the other, have a temporary delimitation, such as "leaving the room tidy before going to school".
With adolescents, the process becomes more complex and depends, to a large extent, on our fluid relationship with them. It is not that we establish a bond of friendship, on the contrary, we are their parents and expect us to be friends. We are not your best friends nor should we be. It is about feeling understood and loved. But for those strong emotions that shake your brain in the process of adaptation to maturity, it is unlikely that a teenager voluntarily decides to ignore us in something that requires effort.
The approach in this process has to be the opposite: our challenge as parents is to guide them in the analysis so that they are the ones who reach the conclusions and take the determination of the changes they want to carry out. The key, again, is in the concretion. And in this case, it is essential that there are very few commitments made to prevent an excessive "burden", to use the term they use, to ruin the entire list. It is essential that they understand their commitment as a real point of struggle in which they want to improve even if it costs them a lot, otherwise it would not be a struggle. The moment you consider it an imposition and they are not like that, it will stop working.