Talking with Kids: Goal Setting and Resolutions

In the spirit of the new year, I attempted a conversation with my son about resolutions.  I defined a resolution for him as something in our lives that we want to change.

I was aware as I was speaking of wanting to focus not on something that he could "do better," rather to focus on something to grow and learn from. 

I think resolutions in the traditional form often feel like another way to be hyper critical of ourselves. And since this was my first conversation with my son about it, I wanted to introduce him to the concept in a way that could feel exciting to him, almost as an entrée to change. 

To help do this, I asked the following question:

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO DO IN 2016 THAT WILL HELP YOU BE YOUR BEST SELF AND BRING WHO YOU ARE TO THE WORLD?

talking with kids goals resolutions new year tween

 

He smiled, wide and big, and then said, “Mom, I want to help others communicate better.”

Wow. He got it. No further explanation needed.

I asked him for some clarification. He said he feels that he often understands what other kids are trying to say and he wants to help other adults understand them.

He cited a recent example of a friend struggling to communicate the answer to a math problem. He knew what the friend meant, but the teacher didn’t.  He saw the use of his gift in that moment.

The entire conversation reminded me of a few things:

  • Our children know who they are. They understand themselves deeply and clearly. It is our job to listen to them and to encourage them to dive into that understanding.

  • Asking the right questions tells us a lot about our children, the ways they think and how they feel.

  • Our children learn from us. My son has learned that communication is important and that makes me deeply proud.

I am moved by his resolution, his depth, his thoughtfulness. For the millionth time I feel grateful to be his mother, to share this life with him. And now I am inspired to refine my own resolutions.

Have you talked with your kids about their resolutions for the year?  What questions get your kids talking?

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