New Year’s Resolutions-Love ’em or Leave ’em

Well a whole year has passed since my last post. And depending on how you look at it a whole decade too. I am in the camp that feels that 2020 is the end of the prior decade so the next decade will not begin until next year but to each their own. But the best explanation ever of this occurred here:

Whatever year it is, with the New Year comes New Year’s resolutions. Inevitably made and inevitably broken. The tradition goes back over 4000 years to the Babylonians who celebrated (then in mid-March) the planting of crops as the beginning of the year. They resolved to be good so the Gods would grant them a good harvest. When Caesar moved the beginning of the year to January, the practice continued because Janus for whom January was named looked both back into the past and ahead into the future. So, worshiping that deity meant promising good conduct for the coming year.

If you’re wondering what all that has to do with reactive attachment disorder, well not a lot. Except that it was as unrealistic to expect fulfillment of resolutions then as it is now. If you’ve been with your RAD kiddo for any length of time you know that saying or writing down a list of promises one day of the year, even a major holiday, won’t make the world change suddenly. They are not going to wake up in 2020 and have a magical “Aha” moment where everything that they didn’t understand in 2019 now makes sense. The synapses in their brains aren’t going to grow back overnight.

But you can start 2020 with a clean slate. It’s so easy to hold on to grudges and anger and resentment. I know, I’ve perfected it over all these years. My birthday happens to be New Year’s Day and August called. We were about five minutes into the call before I asked him if he called for any other reason than to say, “Happy New Year”. He rattled off a couple more ideas and since he was on speaker phone his brother coughed out “birthday” to try and save him. He heard it and caught on that it was somebody’s birthday but couldn’t catch on that it was mine! There have been years I would have gotten angry that he forgot but I gave him some grief and laughed it off. His memory hasn’t ever been great but he tries.

Starting the new year with a clean slate means letting go of any current battles you and your RAD kiddo are waging. Maybe lifting any current punishments even. If possible, have an honest talk about those issues and acknowledging that you are willing to start this year with a clean slate and offering that olive branch. You may get a great response from your RAD kiddo. You may not. But it’s about unburdening your heart, not theirs.

If you’re just not a resolutions person (like me) try some of these interesting alternatives. Many could be adapted into whole family projects! And if you’re looking for some more “practical” or “real life” ideas, these are great! But be warned, they will hit you where you live…

One of my favorite ideas that I’ve heard to replace resolutions is a gratitude jar. Have a jar and slips of paper available in the house and whenever you are grateful for something you write it down and put it in the jar. At the end of the year, you open the jar and reflect as a family on the things you all wrote and have to be grateful for. It doesn’t have to be in place of resolutions necessarily but it certainly puts the past year in perspective and gives you something to consider for how to move into the next one!

Thank you all for joining me on my journey with August this past year. I hope I have helped a little maybe. It is hard to put into words how much writing here helps me. Happy New Year to you all!

Until Next Time,

Shannon