“The new year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals.” – said famous American self-help book author Melody Beattie.
It’s that time of the year when we hope to achieve a better version of ourselves and reflect on the biggest acquirement of the previous year. However, the truth is quite different. The pressure of being more perfect sabotages our positive mental well-being.
Almost one in five Americans already have mild depression, anxiety, and stress. The idea of attaining unrealistic goals intensifies these symptoms. This affects the kid’s mental health. They pick up emotions from their parents.
Sean Tams, a pediatric psychologist at Nationwide children’s hospital in Columbus, Ohio shared his view on the difference between goal and resolution and why it matters in conversations with kids.
He said, “Goals are very important to humans — including kids and teens — because they help to motivate our behavior. Setting a goal and working toward it, or eventually achieving it, makes us feel good because of the sense of accomplishment we experience. However, goals that are framed around something that is seen as a deficit — such as not being fit enough, or not being smart enough — may contribute to feelings of anxiety or worthlessness.”
How New year’s Resolution takes a toll on kids’ Mental Health
There are several ways New Year’s resolutions influence kids’ mental health badly:
1. Unrealistic goals
If kids set goals that are too ambitious or unrealistic, they may become frustrated and disappointed when they are not able to achieve them. This can lead to negative emotions and impact their mental stability. Be present while they are making the goals.
2. Lack of support
Lack of support from parents, caregivers, or other adults results in feeling overwhelmed. It develops vulnerability and low self-esteem. If you find your little one sad or angry without any reason, ask them about it.
3. Pressure to succeed
When children feel pressure to succeed or meet certain expectations, they may become anxious or stressed about their ability to achieve their goals. Make failing natural. Teach them emotional regulation.
4. Absence of balance
Focusing too much on their goals and not taking time for other activities or self-care, may cause burnout. This adversely affects kids’ psychological well-being. Allot time for games or light activities.
5. Negative self-talk
If children are hard on themselves when they make mistakes or do not achieve their goals, they might end up indulging in negative self-talk. This behavior is extremely harmful. Always encourage positive self-talk in these situations.
Tips to assist your kid in achieving their new year resolution
All the negative emotions are avoidable. You can help your kid stick to their resolutions without feeling depressed or sad.
1. Make a short list
Including too many goals leads to distraction. Plus it can create tension in the kid’s mind. Instead, write down some major goals and keep the list short.
2. Add a fun element
If the resolution feels like a fun activity, the kids will most likely stick to it without feeling pressured. Like if the goal is to read 50 books in a year, you can take your little one to the local library every Sunday or read books to them and ask them to share their opinion. Thus they will look forward to participating in it.
3. Set short deadlines
Deadline works as a motivation tool. However, the one-year deadline might seem like an eternity to kids. It’s best to set short deadlines like for a week or month. This will keep the children engaged.
4. Maintain a journal
Developing healthy habits takes time. It’s important to monitor their progress during this time frame. Ask them to maintain a journal so that they can share their feelings, and problems related to the goal, and document their progress.
5. Be flexible
Give your kid options to pick from. Allow flexibility in terms of the deadline. It will reduce the anxious feeling in children.