Making New Year's resolutions may not be among the top priorities in families raising children with a disability, developmental delay or chronic health condition. For some, celebrating the changes from an old year to a new one means letting go of both the high points and the low points of the old year while anticipating better times and making our best plans to avoid anything getting worse. Taking a 'long view' of the year can be a difficult task when a series of challenges in daily living escalates to complications in our families or communities during travel, holiday events, or hosting visitors.
For children who have sensory issues, specific diets or medications, behavior or learning disabilities, a disruption in normal routines can be challenging or life-threatening. Interestingly enough, most of the resolutions that parents make for a new year may have little to do with a child's behavior or diagnosis; we may be hoping to modify another adult's behavior or attitude - or our own. Most parents of children with disabilities decide early on that it is not worth their time to make any resolutions. Most parents of mainstream children forego New Year resolutions for the same reason
Of course it may be that we can include in our definition of 'resolutions' some of the realizations and promises we have made to ourselves during the Fall and Winter holidays. Many moms carry on simple family traditions or start new ones; plan wonderful events; or give their families amazing one-time experiences that should create lifelong positive holiday memories. Afterwards, if she thinks: "We never have to do this again" - that can actually be counted as a resolution for the new year. Mothers of newly diagnosed babies may not realize that every day by day plan is based on new resolutions that spring up in answer to the challenge of that day, or of the diagnosis itself.
New resolutions for parents of children with disabilities often concern relationships with education or medical professionals in our children's lives. Without the support of other families or advocates who have had to deal with the same or similar individuals, we may not realize that the weight of experience and training in dealing with us puts the professionals in an advantage in what they may have come to believe is an adversarial relationship. A better resolution might be to remember that we are also dealing with issues of convenience, personality and self-interest when we are advocating for a child in school or in a medical setting. And that brings us right back home to our own families and friends. They may be making their own resolutions about dealing with us!
Browse at your public library, look bookstore, or online retailer for books like: The Mindful Child: How to Help Your Kid Manage Stress and Become Happier, Kinder, and More Compassionate
Effective Apology: Mending Fences, Building Bridges, and Restoring Trust