New Year's Resolutions for the Family's Soul

, we recommend putting positive messages in the lunch sack: "Smile." "Congratulate a classmate on a goal well shot, a drawing or doodle well conceived." Cafeterias, with all their gossip and noise, can make kids lose their appetite, so a little love from mom can go a long way there.

4. Commit as a family to volunteer within your community. This can be as simple as cleaning out your closets regularly to donate clothes and toys to a local thrift shop or shelter -- or as challenging as helping Habitat for Humanity build a house.

5. Make race an issue. In our first book, The Roller-Coaster Years, we note: "The world is becoming a smaller place and in order for our children to live and work in the next century, they have to develop an appreciation and tolerance for people who are different." Mostly we all avoid the issue of race. Instead discuss it. Make friends with someone of another color. Sample ethnic menus. (Try one during the democratic dinner!)

6. Document your family history. Gather all those scattered photographs into an album. Draw a family tree. Take a genealogy course, even if it means just clicking through the Internet. Teens need a sense of belonging, and this is a way to create the extended family that so many of us have lost in our daily lives.

7. Show your children how you nurture yourself. You don't? Well then begin! Discover a ritual that makes you feel good -- a hot bath every night or fancy flavored tea, a manicure, an evening out with your best friend. As the stress of the world intensifies, we have to be good to ourselves. We must model this coping mechanism and concept of self-love in order to pass it along to our children.

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