A New Year : A New You

A new year brings with it the opportunity to remake ourselves. None of us is perfect and we could all use a little adjustment now and then. The new year is a good time to reflect on those areas of our lives that need improvement.

The Resolution Game

Every year about 100 million people make new year’s resolutions. According to the website USA.gov, some of the most popular are:

~ Lose weight

~ Get fit

~ Quit smoking or drinking (or both)

~ Manage stress and debt

~ Get a better education

~ Get organized

Some of these resolutions stick, most don’t. We run out of personal resources – energy, dedication – or we run into complications – temptation, distractions, loss of willpower. The fact is most of us don’t keep the resolutions we make.

Resolution Success

It’s really a uniquely human trait – this interest in improving our station in life – and the ability to do it. Unfortunately most of us don’t succeed. Why?

Three reasons:            Resolutions aren’t specific or definite enough.

Goals are harder to achieve than we anticipated

Results take too long

In order to achieve success for a resolution you’ve made, you need to have confidence that you can change and you need to possess the continuing commitment to carry it out. You need to believe that you can make the change required and you’ve got to have persistence to overcome setbacks and disappointments. Belief and follow-through are the key components of successful improvement.

Ratchet Up Your Dad Skills

Your role in your teen’s life is very important to his or her successful development. Melanie Mallers, a professor of psychology at California State University, Fullerton, has shown that fathers play a long-lasting role in the emotional lives of their children. Findings she presented at an American Psychological Association meeting showed that men who experienced a good relationship with their fathers were particularly adept at coping with the daily stresses of life.

No matter how good a dad we are, we can always be better. This new year, decide to improve your dad skills.

Attend your son’s sporting event

See your daughter’s musical performance

Take a day off and spend it with your teen

Read an interesting book or article together

Cook dinner together

Step back from an argument with your teen

Banish sarcasm from a conversation

We can be better fathers. This new year is a good time to make good on that possibility. It will improve relations with your teen and it will make you feel better as well.

Let us know how you do. Write to us – tomandbill@dads2dadsllc.com.

 

By dads2dads

Overcoming Loss

Overcoming Loss

The holidays are often the time of year when we experience the loss of a loved one or feel a loss most heavily. Holidays can present us with so many duties that we don’t have time to reflect on what the loss of a special person means. After all the planning, organizing, and carrying out we enter a period of post holiday letdown. In the silence that ensues, we can become reflective, even melancholy, sometimes depressed, reflecting on the loss of someone special in our life. This is as true of teens as it is of older adults.

Recognizing the Loss

Losing a loved one is going to impact each of us in different ways. A teen who loses a friend or a relative can act at the time as if the loss means very little. Or the loss might make a teen more reflective and inward focused. Having a close friend or relative die can make a teen maudlin or angry. There are as many responses as there are types of teens but as a father, we need to be aware of the delayed reaction, particularly at this time of year.

Climbing Back

Overcoming grief can take a while. But there are some important things we can do as a dad to help our teens cope.

Be patient. Give your teen space to feel the loss.

Ask questions to get a sense of how your child is feeling. Listen carefully to what is said. Don’t try to distract your son or daughter from his or her feelings. It only serves to discount them. Clues may come infrequently but they will appear.

Don’t judge. You might think the reaction is out of balance with the loss – either too intense or too inconsequential. Keep these thoughts to yourself. The best you can do is listen and be present.

Share personal experience but do so sparingly. This is a double-edged sword. Your teen will see what she is going through as different from your experience. Sharing too much of your own perspective can result in alienating teens and making them feel “Dad really doesn’t understand.”

Reassure your teen that what is being felt is understandable and normal. Sometimes a book will help. Check out your local library for a book to help deal with this event in your teen’s life.

Remember the loved one. Light a candle together at church, plant something, or make a donation in his or her name.

Reach out. Encourage your son or daughter to contact friends. Take your teen with you on errands, events, or to a movie. Don’t let your teen brood too long or spend too many days alone.

Most important, be sensitive to how your teen is feeling and the heaviness of the loss. Grief is a process and it is neither easy nor quick. But handled well, it will help your teen recover balance and regain a normal life.

 

 

 

By dads2dads