Do This One Thing Right Now

Posted December 31, 2015 by

Do This One Thing Right Now

Find a piece of paper and write down one thing you want to change in your parenting or family life this year.

Not a list of resolutions, or everything that’s going wrong right now. Just one change you want to make over the next few months.

Done? Just one thing. You’ll be amazed at what can happen at home in the coming months.

Here are some of the changes we talk about at Empowering Parents with our own kids:

  • Yell less
  • Find a morning routine that works
  • Work on being a calm parent
  • Figure out bedtime routines
  • Limit our family’s technology use

Something we have to constantly remind ourselves – and other parents – is that habits take a long time to form and a long time to change. If you’re in a pattern you don’t like, you CAN change it. It just takes time.

Choose one goal and make a plan. With practice and support, you’ll be amazed at what can change around you.

Let’s say you have a homework battle at 4pm every day. Let’s make a plan together.

  1. Write down your goal – No more homework battles!
  2. Find tools to help you, like this article: End the Nightly Homework Struggle: 5 Homework Strategies That Work for Kids.
  3. Make a plan. What behavior of your own will you change? What is your strategy? This is what you will be practicing over the coming months.
  4. Practice, practice, practice!
  5. Get support when you need it, whether from a friend, a relative, or the Empowering Parents coaches and community. Support helps keep you on track.

Remember that change is work; there is no magic bullet. But when you put in the work and see the change happen, the results can feel amazing.

You are in good company here. Let us know if you make a goal and how it’s going!

Wishing you a happy and healthy New Year,

Becky & The Empowering Parents Team

Need more help? Learn about eCoaching support


Becky Staples has worked with children and families in a variety of settings including schools, homes, and community agencies. She has a degree in Education and Child Study from Smith College and her Masters in Marriage and Family Counseling from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Becky has been working with Empowering Parents families since 2008.

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  1. AnnGet Report

    It´s a great thing to be able to share ones problems and get so great pieces of advice. I have even printed out some replies I got from you here, just not to forget. It is not easy to bring up a child in a foreign country (so is my case) and on my own. However, I have to admit that for a month now things have been much better between my son and me. He decided to stop smoking grass and since then we actually can communicate with each other! I can´t remember when was the last time when he  came to me just to talk. It happens now quite often! He is so changed now (for better) when he is not under the influence anymore. I only hope and pray it will stay so.

  2. Copperone Report

    I am the grandmother of a 8 year old grand-daughter. Our daughter is a single mom, divorced after 12 years of marriage when our grand-daughter was 3 years old.  I struggle with my role in helping raise this baby girl.  Her father lives an hour away and isn’t any help financially or physically.  Being retired helps time wise but I can’t be the typical grandmother since I am needed on a daily basis to take care of my grand-daughter.  How do I know what my role is in “parenting” or “grand-parenting”?

  3. melissaj Report

    My son is 12 yrs old, he has ADHD, he takes medication which does help him focus in school, but the medication is worn off before he gets home.  It is an absolute nightmare doing his homework, he gets home from school at 2:30p and some nights we don’t get done with his homework until 10pm, it’s so frustrating! It’s a constant battle to get him to focus on his homework. My son is so disruptive to the whole family.  He screams all the time, he loves to bust my butt, he knows what buttons to push and he pushes them all the time. He doesn’t listen when we ask him to do anything, he is never happy. He is very obnoxious. We love him but we don’t like being around him. He is so negative about everything, he says mean things to all of us.  I could go on and on. This breaks my heart everyday, I pray to God all the time to help us deal with him. When I was pregnant with him and even as he was a small child all I could ever think about is all the wonderful things we would do as he grows up,  I never would’ve pictured it to be the way it is, everything is a struggle.  I finally made an appointment with a therapist, I am hopeful the therapist can give us some direction on how to fix our relationship with our son.

  4. Fox99 Report

    I want to limit technology use and introduce new things to do but don’t know what to introduce. I have a 12 year old son addicted to gaming and a 13 year old daughter on social media.
    Both are loving children but need more social interaction as they need to learn persistence and mechanics of social interaction.

  5. AnnGet Report

    I would like to calmer with my 17-year old son. But how can I reach it, when he is rarely at home, and almost does not talk to me? Once I get the chance to speak to him I get emotional because there are so many things I would like to discuss with him and he simply does not listen to me or does not care. How to start communication with someone who hates me and has almost no connection to me at all? I am a single mum.

    • Ang Report

      Wow! Sounds like my life. I hear you, feel the same way but I’ve learnt to back off, speak lesser and just let him be. My son is 18 and is studying in another city. Strange enough we seem to communicate better when he is away from home. I do feel that they will turn to us when they need us. If it means they learning certain lessons on their own do be it.this is a different generation of kids who are quiet independent, speak their mind and at times find us embarrassing. Just be there to support, pick up the pieces if the need arises and leave it all in God’s hands. He knows best…I know as my son grows older he will appreciate and respect us more. All the best….mum in the same situation.

      • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

        I hear you. It can be tough to keep our emotions in check
        when trying to discuss tough situations with our children. As Empowering
        Parents coaches, we hear similar stories from many parent of kids and teens,
        so, you’re not alone. It may help to recognize that while you can’t control
        your son’s choices or behaviors, you can control how you respond to them.
        Debbie Pincus offers parents tips for how to be a calmer parent in her
        Empowering Parents articles. One article in particular you may find helpful is We appreciate
        you writing in and sharing your story. Be sure to check back and let us know
        how things are going. Take care.

    • working mom Report

      I’m having a similar problem. I’m going to try letting go a bit. I always ask him so many questions so that I know exactly what’s going on. I’m going to try a different approach where when I see my son, I just open up about my day and tell him something about me. I hope this reopens the lines of communication and helps restore my relationship with him.

      • AnnGet Report

        @working mom Hi, I will keep your piece of advice in mind. It´s been hard recently to open up about my day to him, because there are so many situations which we should have discussed earlier, so many conflicts between us… I will try it anyway. I still have to learn so much!

    • Beth Report

      AnnGet  I am sorry for your troubles w/ your son.  Are there other children?  I am afraid this is going to happen to me too.  My twins are only 12. My husband places a great deal of academic pressure on them & my son has ADHD and is in a very rigorous middle school w/ not much support for his issues.  My son dislikes doing his school work (& we spend hours helping him) but, he actually likes the kids @ the small school.  He has been there 4 years.  Lower school was super easy.  He is bright, but immature & overwhelmed.  My son hates us.  I tell him I love him every night.  I don’t know what direction it will go, but I am afraid I am going to lose him one way or another.

    • Michelle Report

      I am a mother of 5 boys ages 21-4. I have loved being a mother but it is hard. There have been many difficulties and when they come, I pray for inspiration to know what they need and how to be the best mother I can for them. That inspiration always comes. I believe that Heavenly Father sent us these children and they don’t come with a manual so we need His help. He knows and loves them more than we do and will help us guide them. I have had MANY experiences where my boys have struggled with things without me knowing exactly what, although I had a feel something was up. Moms just know. Then, the feeling would come to my heart to talk to him about a certain thing. It must be done with love for them to be responsive and they need to know you love them. It has always turned out to be the correct thing to do and it has always helped my sons. Sometimes I receive inspiration to remain quiet even though that is so hard for me.
      One thing I’ve done since they were little is to always tuck them in at night even when they are teenagers up until they leave our home. I kiss them goodnight and tell them I love them and then tell them one thing I love about them. We have had some wonderful conversations at this time because they are settled down and open to conversations. However, most of the time they need to just fall asleep but I always go down to give them a kiss and tell them I love them even if they are already asleep. If you have not been doing this consistently, it may take time for him to soften but I believe he will eventually. Another thing I’ve done is learned to cut hair. I’ve never been professionally trained but I’ve trained myself since they were little. It has turned out to be a great blessing. Even my 21 year old will come to me when he needs a hair cut and as I’m cutting and running my fingers through their hair, they magically open up to me and I’m able to listen to them and give counsel when needed but they KNOW I love them. Believe me, I am not the perfect mother! I fall short ALL the time but when I mess up, I tell them I’m sorry that I didn’t handle the situation properly. You’d be AMAZED at how forgiving our children can be. These may not be the answers you’ve been looking for but they sure have worked for me. Being a mother is the most important job ever! There is nothing better and more important than raising children who go out into the world to inspire people and bless other people’s lives for good. My oldest son just returned from the Congo after serving the people there for two years on an LDS mission. My second son is 18. He lives in Tallahassee Florida right now and is serving his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I can’t tell you the joy that comes into my heart every time I read his letters that he writes home. It’s wonderful to know that he’s happy and bringing so much joy and happiness into other peoples lives as he serves. I can only tell you that all that effort I have put into my boys has been worth it!

      • AnnGet Report

        @Michelle Hi Michelle, thank you for your reply. As I read your it I had tears in my eyes. I had the same habbit as you with your children: I would come to him to kiss him goodnight eah evening. We used to talk and laugh together before he went to sleep. that was a few years ago. It was a beautiful thing, which unfortunatelly I stopped doing. You reminded me of this. Thank you.

    • Hanna Report

      AnnGet I had a strained relationship with my mom around that age, so I barely spoke to her and stayed away from home as much as possible.  She was an alcoholic and I didn’t understand what she was going through.  I probably acted like I hated her, but never did.  I loved her very much, but didn’t always like her.  And I could not deal with her problems and my own at the same time so putting distance between us was my survival technique.  As we got older we both grew and changed, so our relationship did too, and was good until her passing 5 years ago.  I will be 50 this year with 2 sons, 21 & 17.  Our relationships haven’t been as good as they should be, but I try to draw on my mindset at their age, remembering that they too probably don’t always like me, but no doubt do love me.  So with this in mind, I try to remember to step back and let them be, but make sure I am listening when they are ready to open up about anything they want to talk about.  Your son loves you, and he will come around eventually.  As long as he knows you love him, all the other will fall into place, or it doesn’t really matter anyways.  Take good care of yourself.  All the best to you and your son.

      • Frances Mo Report

        @Hanna AnnGet Thank you for writing this, although it has made me cry again.  I think I just feel in such despair at times that my son will carry these issues into his adult relationships.  You have made me remember that I really do know my son loves me- it;s just so hard to think clearly when things are so difficult between us.  He just takes his anger and frustration out on me – I feel so alone in my family of 5.  We just don’t seem able to talk about it all without blaming each other.  I do still have a good relationship with my 18 year old, even though we have had issues, they have always been sorted and he is now good at listening and talking with me a little about the problems with his younger brother- he is often able to see things clearly and give me good advice- although I definitely can’t talk for more than a few minutes!! He is a boy after all!  My youngest is 11 and I have a great relationship with him too- he is such a kind and loving boy, but I worry the damage this is doing to him- seeing me upset so much of the time and dealing with the aggressive outbursts for 2 years now.  My son who is so angry all the time was always such a well behaved boy and loving too, I? just feel there is something wrong and I desperately want to help him. to fix whatever it is like I was able to when they were all young.  I used to feel I was good at being a mum when they were under teen years, in fact my husband in his anger shouted just this at me, but I don;t know where it all went wrong.  Thank you for your reminder- my son does love me- he just is not able to be close to me for now.

    • steve Report

      AnnGet hi AnnGet,
      Sorry to hear you are having a tough time with your son. I will say that your situation is very common and it’s highly likely that things can get better. Getting support is an important part of the process.  What are you doing for support now?   We have a team of coaches who can help support you in building a better relationship with your Son.  Go to our programs page above and look at e coaching. It might be helpful to you. 

      All my best. Hang in there. 



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