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John Monfredo: Time to Consider Family New Year’s Resolutions

Saturday, January 05, 2013


As a family it’s that time again, time to sit down and make out your list of New Year’s Resolutions. Those serious about keeping their New Year’s Resolutions, according to Dr. Bernard Davidson, a family psychologist at the Medical College of Georgia Health System, need to follow the following steps:

Be committed. You must think through what you want to change and commit yourself to the long-term process it usually takes to achieve change. You then need to come up with a realistic plan to help you reach your goal. Dr. Davidson stated if you want to shed pounds, create a weight-loss schedule and an achievable diet and exercise plan. Include your family in on the plan if they are supportive, for they can provide encouragement and reinforce your commitment.

Be prepared for setbacks. Don’t think of them as complete failures, don’t dwell on them and don’t let them make you give up your goals. After a setback, try to get back on the track to reach your objective.

Track your progress. Spend time each week reviewing the family goals with the children. See what they have to say and what needs to be improved as one moves forward. Remember to be positive and consider making small changes, if need be, to accomplish the goal.

As we enter 2013, parents may like to consider some of the following New Year’s resolutions for your family:


  • At home our children will eat as a family around the table at least five days a week and perhaps even engage in conversation.
  • When we have leftovers from mom or dad’s great cooking, the children will eat them and will try to enjoy the meal. Children will be reminded that that this is not a restaurant and they can’t order what they want for dinner.
  • As parents, we will spend as much time as possible in developing good manners with our children. Each week we will work on a specific social grace, such as saying thank you and “excuse me” when walking in front of someone.
  • As a family, we will start off the year by reviving family reading time. We will talk to our children and tell them that at 7:00p.m. each evening it’s reading time. We will take this opportunity to share books and make plans for visiting the local library or a book store. This resolution will also set limits on TV during the 7:00p.m. hour. No TV after 7:00p.m.
  • We will work with our children on developing the habit of getting ready the night before for school. Set out clothes, pack lunches, get papers signed, and put the backpacks with the school books in the bags by the front door. This will also help clean out their school’s notebook and backpack.
  • We will work on putting our children to bed early, read to them and then reconnect as a couple or relax as a single.
  • We will laugh a lot in 2013! Research on laughter confirms that it releases endorphins and other hormones that make us feel good. Young kids love physical comedy – goofy sounds, wearing crazy hats or other fun activities. Older children can be counted on to make fun of you, so learn to laugh at yourself a little. Believe it or not, it helps them bond with you.
  • We will try to be consistent with our discipline. Set consistent limits and boundaries, even with adolescents, and be willing to negotiate and give a little ground. When our child refuses to cooperate or breaks the rule, we will attempt to act calmly and reasonably rather than resort to severe measures to teach them a lesson.
  • We will encourage our children to choose non-violent television shows and video games, and we will set a time of one hour each day during school time on these activities.
  • We will add at least one fresh fruit snack to our daily routine and switch to whole grain breads, pasta and cereals. We will try to eat healthy in 2013.
  • We will work on catching our children being good – try to stop saying no! According to research, young children are told “no” every nine minutes, so they can quickly become “parent deaf.” Instead, we will find opportunities to praise our children.
  • We will assign daily chores to our children, and will insist that the chores be done and done right, before they take on other activities.
  • We will incorporate some kind of service learning into our home life. Trying to make a difference in the community is an activity that all children need to be part of as they grow up.
  • We will try to get our teens to get an extra hour of sleep every night. Again, we look at research and there is evidence about the need for our teenagers to acquire more sleep each night.
  • Our family will add physical activity or play time to the calendar. We will schedule an evening walk, fitness class, or soccer games for kids with the same commitment as other important meetings.


There you have it! Consider what your resolutions will be and start writing out your list soon and then try sticking to it. Whatever you do, work on making family life enjoyable and make the year 2013 a time for reaching out to those in need of assistance or those in need of a kind word. Happy New Year and remember to SMILE often in 2013!


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