3 Tips: Creating New Parenting Habits

Tips for creating NEW parenting habits.Q & A with Vicki Hoefle

Question: My husband and I are sold on this less is more approach to parenting.  We have implemented Family Meetings, replaced praise with encouragement, are trying to foster independence and get real with our expectations.  How do I transition between my old style of parenting and my new improved style?  Habits are hard to break and I am really struggling.

Answer:  The truth is, there is no easy way to break an old habit and replace it with a newer, healthier habit.  But there are a few things you can do to make the transition a little more enjoyable for everyone.

Here are my top 3 tips for creating NEW parenting habits:

  1. Identify the old habit you want to replace (choose the easiest to break) and the new habit you will replace it with. For example:  My old habit is to give my kids to many choices for breakfast and that leads to fights and power struggles.  This week my new habit is to give my kids two choices and I will make sure they are food choices I know they will eat. Or, another example might be:  My old habit is to nag my kids to get moving in the morning.  This week my new habit will be to trust that they can take care of everything on their own if I give them a chance and to wait in the car quietly until it is time to go.

  2. Focus on that one new habit for no less than 2 weeks.  It’s easy to feel bombarded with all the changes you want to make, but take it from me, focusing on one habit and sticking with it will create crazy momentum that will make future changes easier and more enjoyable.

  3. Track and CELEBRATE your progress and improvement. We live in a world that tells us to buy the new wardrobe AFTER you drop that 60 lbs, by a new car AFTER you get the corner office (you currently work in the mail room), and take that big vacation AFTER you have $200K in your saving account. REALLY?  Instead, find an easy way to track your progress on a regular basis (I recommend either daily or ever other day) and then find simple and meaningful ways to celebrate them.  This is guaranteed to keep you inspired AND you are modeling for your children that the process is as important as the goal.

As Tony Horton from P90X would say – Do your Best and Forget the Rest.  If you set reasonable expectations for yourself, you focus on one thing at a time and you make time to celebrate – you won’t be disappointed.

Question for you:  What strategy have you employed to implement new habits?