As this year winds down, thoughts turn to the future and what we want from the new year. Many resolutions are made, and few actually survive the winds of February.

Rather than create a long list of resolutions (lose weight, get married, get divorced, go to Bali), Weld County Prevention Partners has a list of totally do-able resolutions that can improve your family life and help your teen make wise decisions.

•  Eat meals as a family.  According to a number of reports issued by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University(CASA), children who eat at least five times a week with their family are less likely to develop poor eating habits, have weight problems or alcohol and substance dependencies, and tend to perform better academically than their peers who frequently eat alone or away from home.

Make the dinner table a “no texting zone,” and focus on having conversations with each other.*

Know where your teen is, what they are doing and who they are doing it with.  As Greeley Chief of Police Jerry Garner says, “It’s not interfering, it’s parenting.  Teens actually feel good when someone cares about them and what they are up to.”

Praise your teen.  Start the new year out making sure your teen knows you care about them.  Tell them what you admire about them (you’re such a great artist) or their behavior (I really respect how you handled that situation.”)  A little praise goes a long way!

Remember—you don’t have to climb Mount Everest to make 2014 a great year.  Just incorporate these four behaviors into your family life, and see what a difference it can make.

About This Content’s Sponsor

This information is provided by Weld County Prevention Partners, a coalition of concerned parents, health care and social services professionals, community leaders, educators, business owners, law enforcement, volunteers and citizens who want the best for the youth in our community. You can find a wealth of information on their official website.