New Year's Resolutions for the Family's Soul

Holidays are not entirely happy. For every white Christmas, a blue one corresponds. For all the sentiments of good will expressed toward men, ill will still bubbles up within families, and anxiety attends our traditional, seasonal overspending and overeating. Whether the New Year rings or rumbles in, many of us feel ready to pledge some form of abstinence; resolutions are designed to undo the excesses of the past week.

This year, rather than repeat for the umpteenth time a promise to diet, exercise and/or pay off credit-card debt, let's turn our thoughts to a deeper commitment. At the root of munching and buying too much is a search for love, an attempt to give it and receive it. So let's get down to the basics for truly nourishing, doable New Year resolutions now, and take a 10-step approach to adding more love in our life and our family:

1. Bring on the laughs. Put more humor into your life. Rent a funny movie once a week, and giggle family-style. If you have a child within the ages of 10 to 15, watch her sense of humor emerge now.

2. Schedule a weekly democratic dinner. Even if you have to add it onto the kitchen wall calendar, plan a family meal. Aim for participation. Let different family members decide the menus each week. Alternate cooking, or cook together. This kind of a meal delivers emotional nourishment -- a commodity we all need, but teens especially.

3. Tuck notes of affirmation into lunches. In our forthcoming book, Cliques: 8 Steps to Help Your Child Survive the Social Jungle

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