12/29/2011 11:37 EST | Updated 02/28/2012 05:12 EST

New Year's Resolutions for Parents and Troubled Teens

Ken Rabow on Our Kids

I love new year's resolutions. There is something powerful about scratching out one old period of time and making room for what's ahead, creating a conscious effort to trim and right our sails through life.

There is something to be said about formal declarations. They can have power and meaning, but only if they become a constant mantra, repeated every morning and night into the mirror.

Here are some new year's resolutions that are a little "outside the box." Some are for parents and some for teens; pick one and try it out, but just before I offer them to you, I would like to share my own observations about teens and parents here in the 21st century.


I have had so many caring parents contact me with their concerns about their teens. I have met with so many young people really looking to turn their lives around. I consider myself blessed to work with such caring people and to have the opportunity to help them in their struggles.

About the teens:

Today's generation of teens are special. They are dealing with things that were impossible to conceive of a decade ago: Instant access to everything, overloads of information, impermanence in all things, access to the darkest recesses of mankind through video and words by way of the Internet and so much more. Yet, despite these challenges, I believe in their ability to succeed. I have absolute faith that, for the most part, they will do great things.

About the parents.

There are so many special, caring parents who are really challenged with bringing up kids in this ever-changing world. All I can say is that all the ones I have met are exceptional because they care, because they don't give up and because they rise above their own fears to give what they think is best to their kids.

A Parent's New Year's Resolutions

Try one of these on for size.

1) I hereby resolve to let go of the past and to see each situation with my teen from a fresh perspective (And when I can't, I'll try to fake it ... pretty soon it will be real).

2) I hereby resolve to look at my teen with the healing eye; the eye that is judgment-free, having absolute faith and the patience that comes with that.

3) I hereby resolve to try active listening, listening quietly, saying back in my own words what I thought I heard, empathizing and validating.

4) I hereby give myself permission to be afraid, to have doubts, to voice these concerns to my partner or friend and then come to my relationship with my teen openly while trying to be free of my fears.

5) I hereby resolve to try something new that is challenging and to keep at it just for my own personal growth and to share the experience with my teen.

6) I hereby resolve to try to think of three different things that I am thankful for every night about my teen before going to bed.

A Teen's New Year's Resolutions

1) I hereby resolve to believe in myself (especially when it's hard to do).

2) I hereby resolve to do my school work on a regular, daily basis, starting from the first week that any work is given, and to keep it up. I will learn from my mistakes and figure out how to study more efficiently.

3) I hereby resolve to communicate my feelings and thoughts in a calm, clear manner so that I can be empowered to express myself.

4) I hereby resolve to take some time each week to try and understand my family members and share my thoughts on the world with them.

5) I hereby resolve to pick one thing that I love doing, that will make me a better person and do a little bit of it each and every day.

6) I hereby resolve to try to think of three different things about my life that I am thankful for every night.

Pick one. Say it to yourself in the mirror when you wake up and just before going to bed and try to act on your resolution at least one time during the day.

Let me know how it works for you.

There you have it. My last article of 2011. More to come in 2012!

I want to thank all the people at The Huffington Post. They are an amazing group of people. I want to thank all of the readers. I have greatly appreciated the emails, the comments and the tweets. One request, please send me more feedback! I really do love it and I will do my best to respond to each one.

Have a great new year!

-Ken Rabow

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