Small Changes Make for Huge Impact

At the risk of sounding outrageously cliché as we enter into a new year – allow me to encourage you with this: New year, new you. And yes, before you roll your eyes at me – and before I roll my eyes at myself for that matter – I realize and recognize we hear that everywhere. I know we see that on every diet commercial, billboard and ad for the magic whatever that promises to change our life. I also know that, much like other piercing platitudes, there does tend to be a ring of truth buried somewhere in there, and a fresh start to a new year really is no different.

Sometimes we need markers in time wherein we can set goals or restart or refresh our focus, and parenting is certainly no different.

As the chaos of the Christmas season passes us by, the new year really can be a time for a new beginning. Grab hold of that opportunity. Allow it to help you reset and reconsider some parenting approaches that haven’t worked or take a fresh look at the same old behaviors that just keep coming at you. There is hope – there is help, and a new year is the perfect time to welcome in a refreshing change.

My encouragement to you would be to make a list of the top three areas of parenting or behaviors that you are struggling with right now and make solution-seeking to those three things your focus. When we feel discouraged and overwhelmed we tend to think that “everything” is bad. “Everything” isn’t working and “nothing” will ever, ever get better. But before you cascade into a pit of emotional chaos, pause and identify your top three.

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Is every day in carpool the absolute hardest part of your day because your typically well-mannered children suddenly become feral and begin arguing and whining the minute those seatbelts are engaged? In response to that, can you make a small change in your routine wherein you have a snack and water bottle waiting for them on their seat and a children’s book on CD from the library that everyone listens to on the way home? Small change, huge impact.


Can you purpose to shift your morning routine just a bit and build in five minutes to snuggle with and rock that toddler first thing in the morning; the toddler who is in the midst of the “terrible” twos and who seems to do nothing else except whine 17 hours a day demanding your attention? Small change, huge impact.


Can you posture yourself in a manner wherein you are willing to grab a $5 Hot-n-Ready pizza on your way home from work and quietly drop it at the bedroom door of that grumpy teenager for no reason at all, other than to communicate that you are here for him? Small change, huge impact.


We can’t fix it all, and parenting will always be the hardest thing we do. But also remember that hard does not equal bad. Hard is just sometimes…well, hard. But by trouble shooting manageable bits and pieces at a time, we can turn around a year from now, as we usher in 2022, and see just how far we’ve come. After all, we survived 2020 – so clearly anything is possible.

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Sonia Martin
Author: Sonia Martin

Sonia is a licensed social worker and holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Social Work. Her clinical focus is on helping parents and professionals understand the role of the brain in behavior and how to adopt therapeutic parenting techniques to mitigate negative behaviors. She is the Director of Central Alabama for Lifeline Children’s Services and is a mother to 7 sons, 3 of which were internationally adopted and she is a foster parent.

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Small Changes, Huge Impact

by Sonia Martin time to read: 3 min