Parents’ top New Year resolution is to be more patient

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The top New Year’s resolution for parents is to become more patient in 2024, according to a new survey. In addition, many mothers and fathers plan to reduce their phone usage and cultivate healthier family habits. Researchers from the University of Michigan say numerous parents are also committing to reevaluate and improve their parenting strategies moving forward.

Tweens and teenagers are also establishing their own objectives, which include academic achievements, as well as goals related to exercise, nutrition, and earning money. This is according to the poll involving over 2,000 parents and their children.

The survey reveals that nearly three-quarters of parents make resolutions or set personal goals throughout the year. Interestingly, a quarter of these parents choose the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve as the moment to start fresh for the upcoming year.

A smaller proportion of parents opt to begin anew at the start of the school year or on their birthdays. This information comes from a poll conducted by the University of Michigan Health C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital.

Furthermore, more than half of the parents of children between 11 and 18 years-old have set personal goals for themselves as well.

“Milestone occasions, such the start of a new calendar or school year, present families with opportunities for self-reflection and motivation to improve an area of physical and emotional health,” says Mott Poll co-director Sarah Clark, M.P.H., in a media release.

“Our poll suggests that parents often focus on areas they’d like to improve in their parenting approach, including being more engaged, focusing on their own and their child’s health, and supporting their child’s connection to the broader community.”

Family road trip: Parents take selfie with kids in front of car
A family taking a selfie (Photo by Monkey Business Images on Shutterstock)

Nearly half of mothers and a third of fathers have set goals to alter some aspect of their parenting. More than three-quarters of these parents aim to cultivate greater patience, and over half aspire to spend less time on their phones.

Additionally, nearly half have committed to offering healthier meals and snacks, while more than a third plan to exercise alongside their children.

Among those who have established parenting goals, approximately three-quarters report that these objectives have helped them become better parents. Furthermore, an even greater number believe that setting these goals has taught their children valuable lessons about working towards achieving goals.

“Setting goals to improve parenting can help parents define their values and priorities and have positive effects on the health and well being of the whole family,” Clark says.

Parents with three or more children are more inclined to set goals related to consistent discipline and involving their children in spiritual activities, compared to those with fewer children.

Regarding the children’s goals, nearly 70 percent focus on academic grades and school performance. Just over half are determined to excel in a specific activity.

About two-fifths of the youngsters prioritize exercise, eating habits, nutrition, and earning money. Additionally, more than a third are eager to try new things. However, less than a quarter of these goals pertain to friendships or volunteering.

From the parents’ perspective, teenagers between 15 and 18 are more likely to set goals concerning nutrition and exercise. Meanwhile, exploring new interests is a more common goal among 11 to 14-year-olds.

Goal-setting helps kids learn to be accountable for their actions and develop a growth mindset,” Clark continues. “Parents modeling goal setting can also teach kids the importance of working toward something and learning from mistakes along the way.”

“Taking steps to encourage goal-setting is a great way for parents to show their support and confidence in their child,” the researcher adds.

“We all know how commonly people set New Year resolutions that fade as the year goes on,” Clark concludes. “If families are serious about sticking to resolutions, it’s essential to set specific and realistic targets and schedule time to take necessary steps to reach them.”

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