I will lose 25 pounds by July 1. I will stop smoking. I mean it.

I will have a more positive attitude. I really mean it.

Most New Year's resolutions don't make it halfway through January. And resolutions about your teenagers? You're lucky if you get past 2 o'clock in the afternoon on New Year's Day.

But resolutions are good. You just have to be realistic. The best are the ones that may actually come to pass. Here's how to distinguish them.

Impossible These resolutions go against your DNA as a parent. Don't put too much energy into keeping them and don't be too disappointed if you fail.

I will - just once - walk by where you're sitting without saying: "Did you remember to bring the dirty glasses up from the basement?" or "Don't you have any homework?"

I will not keep noticing that you have that exact same look on your face that my ex used to get when he was mad.

I will not brace myself against the dashboard every moment I am in the car with you driving. Nor will I keep making those constant sharp intakes of breath.

I will not see your unpleasant behaviour as a certain indicator of a flaw you will have as an adult and that I, consequently, have to stamp out permanently.

I will not use the phrase: "When I was your age ..."

I will not use the phrase: "You just don't know how lucky you are."

I will, just once, go to sleep before you come home.

Really hard but worth a shot These are mostly criticism-related. It's really, really hard not to comment when your teen displays undesirable behaviour. But it's worth trying to cut down on your criticism because it involves real sources of hurt and discord between you and your teen - and if you really focus on it, you do have a chance to succeed. (If you just can't help yourself, try to criticize only the things that really bother you and stay silent about everything else.)When you are driving me crazy, I will not say: "Where did I go wrong?" or "Thank God your grandfather isn't still alive to see you turn out like this."

I will not compare you with your younger brother, nor with that really nice Jasper Glanninmacher kid who you used to be friendly with, and I never understood exactly what happened.

I will say something nice to you every day. Even if it's really hard and the best I can come up with is: "Did anybody ever tell you that you have nice hands?"

I will try not to notice how the house is more pleasant when you're not there.

I will not constantly say how I've had a really hard day. I know I say it mainly as an excuse in advance for acting crabby. I will try to be nice and patient - as tough as that may be.

I will not criticize that really annoying habit you have of twisting your hair. After all, you really can't help it, you usually do not do it in public, and pointing it out stops it momentarily at best but does nothing to make it any less of a habit.

Doable These are good because they do not need very much effort, time or willpower. But while they may seem trivial, they aren't.

I will say, "I love you," every day - even if it's just the off-to-school-in-the-morning: "Love you."

I will give you a hug every day - albeit maybe only a short one that you may not seem to enjoy at all.

I will spend at least two minutes a day just me and you. Trying to commit to more than two minutes will probably take it out of the doable column. But the 120 seconds will be quality time - at least from my end.

I will not tease you about your eyebrows.

And here's a last doable one

I will not question myself as a parent if I can truly say that I have loved you, showed that love at least some of the time and, at least some of the time, was willing to say "no," stand firm and not let you bully me into changing my mind.

Good luck.

Clinical psychologist Anthony E. Wolf is the author of six parenting books, including 'Get out of my life, but first could you drive me and Cheryl to the mall?: A Parent's Guide to the New Teenager'.

Source: [Toronto Globe and Mail]