Now that a new year is upon us, it is a good time to sit back and think a bit about our lives, our families and our children. Day-to-day we can get swept up in the stress, worry, and anxiety of managing school demands, social struggles and our own work demands that we lose site of the positive, the good and the joy that comes from being a parent. It takes a little effort to step back and get perspective on our children's strengths, joys and charms.

Many of us often start the day arguing with children to get school on time and end the day stressed out about bed time or homework. There just does not seem to be enough time to wistfully picture all of the wonderful qualities our children bring into the world.

However, taking a moment to sit back and think about what is right with our children, rather than what is wrong with them is a powerful way to improve our mood and perspective on parenting. More and more we are learning through psychological research and experience that our thoughts are a powerful force in how happy and successful we are. Positive thoughts can bring us positive change, while negative thoughts are draining and can lead us to negative outcomes.

So come with me for a minute and let's take two or three big steps back from our daily grind and think about our children from this perspective. Answer these questions to get a more positive thought pattern about your children and yourself as a parent.

What is your child good at?
What are his most endearing qualities?
What has she said that that has made your heart melt?
What is your child's most cherished object, favorite book, favorite color?
When not worried about school, how is your child's mood and demeanor?
What makes your child a special and unique individual in the world? How can you nurture that precious soul?
What are you good at as a parent?
When your child has her struggles what do you do to support her (a hug, or a pat can be just perfect, by the way)?

Can you see a bigger picture now? I hope your positive thoughts help you feel better about your child and your parenting. The next time you have a tough day with your child (and these days will come), you can refer back to this exercise to help you gain some perspective and remember all that is good about your child and yourself.