CNN Parenting

8 resolutions for better parenting in the New Year

Story highlights

  • Give kids what they need the most: your attention
  • Frustration is understandable, but yelling is the least productive way to manage it

Go Ask Your Dad is parenting advice with a philosophical bent as one dad explores what we want out of life, for ourselves and our children, through useful paradigms and best practices. Share your insight at the CNN Parenting Facebook page.

(CNN)If you're looking to improve your parenting, you're not alone. In my opinion, it's an essential area of course correction, up there with weight loss, better eating and better spending, arguably more essential.

What's beautiful about parenting resolutions is that your kids benefit too, and likely your spouse and any potential future grandkids. You get a lot of bang for your resolution buck.
    As with any resolution, honestly examine areas where you feel you could be doing better or want to improve. Below are eight parenting resolution thought-starters in categories we all probably need to give more attention in the coming year.

    Being there

    There's a lot of talk, many articles and a long shelf of books on mindful parenting. But it all boils down to this: When you're with your kids, give them full, curious and happy attention.

    Go Ask Your Dad is parenting advice with a philosophical bent as one dad explores what we want out of life, for ourselves and our children, through useful paradigms and best practices. It considers old problems in new ways, and new problems that previous generations didn't face.

    Listen to them, respond, don't let yourself be distracted by your phone, or future-thinking or your own agenda. Be fully there for them, giving what they need the most: your attention, combined with an openness that encourages them to share whatever is on their mind or what's happening with them at that moment.
    The dividends of this effort are deep and long-long lasting -- from fewer tantrums to stronger bonds. If you only pick one resolution, make it this one.

    Be more laissez-faire about some things

    You may be burdening yourself with milestones and cultural expectations that really don't matter if you pause to think about them. Here are some developmental achievements you don't really need to waste time, energy and anxiety pushing. Rest assured these will almost always work themselves out in due time.
    • Crawling
    • Talking
    • Walking
    • Potty training
    • Bathing regularly
    • Learning to read
    • Riding a bike
    Here are some things that maybe you shouldn't be so laissez-faire about, even at early ages.
    • Good nutrition
    • Enough sleep
    • Exposure to nature
    • Good manners
    • Kindness

    Don't drive under the influence of your phone

    Here comes your PSA: More than 40,000 people di