Should Your Teen Set New Year’s Resolutions?

As the first few days of 2012 roll by, many people will be talking about and setting their New Year’s resolutions.  However, even those who set resolutions don’t always expect them to be successful.  The statistics don’t lie; 35% of those who make resolutions don’t even make it through the first day.  But, statistics go both ways.  According to a study completed at the University of Scranton, almost half of those who set resolutions go on to achieve some degree of success as opposed to only 4% of those who think about setting goals, do not commit to a specific resolution.

If you are interested in helping your teen set and stick to a couple New Year’s resolutions, think about making it a family affair.  Setting goals together fosters the type of supportive environment that helps people succeed at making life changes.  Even if each family member has their own set of resolutions, you can act as accountability partners for each other and work together to stay on track.  In addition to the family unity benefits that this type of activity can offer, getting teenagers to start thinking what they want to achieve will help them develop the skills needed for long-term planning.

If your teen is resisting participation, talk about why goals and resolutions are important from your perspective.  Then listen to their objections thoughtfully.  If you cannot convince them to get on board, seek some kind of compromise.  Resolutions and goals must be sincere to be attainable.  Forced or begrudging participation may result in a list of resolutions, but it isn’t likely to result in long term change.

To help both parents and teens set their resolutions, we pulled together a list of some of the more common resolutions to provide each group a place to start.  As you work through the list and determine your own resolutions, remember that being sincere about the resolutions you set and believing that you can succeed are the two factors that will contribute most to your success.

Ideas for Teens

  1. Commit to helping out around the house in one new way every week.
  2. Commit to being more helpful to your family or more social at school.
  3. Make yourself available take over the care of the family pets.
  4. Make a commitment to turn on the TV less.
  5. Decide to be nicer to your brothers and sisters, especially if they look up to you.
  6. Decide to read more, and to read just for fun.  Set a goal for how many additional books you want to read next year.
  7. Resolve to ask for help when you need it and take help when it’s offered.
  8. Resolve to volunteer and give some of your time to someone else.
  9. Commit to being more organized and make a plan for how you will get organized and stay that way.
  10. Commit to taking school seriously.

Ideas for Parents

  1. Resolve to be a healthier family and set a good example for your children.
  2. Commit to eating dinner together at the table several nights a week.
  3. Decide to focus on getting more quality time with both your children and your spouse or significant other.
  4. Choose a home improvement project or a vacation that they family can plan and undertake together.
  5. Resolve to enforce your own rules.
  6. Commit to helping your children establish and adhere to their own boundaries.
  7. Decide that when interacting with your teen, you will listen more than you talk. 
  8. Commit to saying one sincere, positive thing about each member of your family every day.
  9. Choose to focus on the good decisions your teens make at least as much as you focus on the bad decisions they make.
  10. Resolve to get your teen or your family whatever help they need to overcome their challenges and make it through their struggles successfully.
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