How many parents sigh or even find themselves rolling their eyes when they hear the word consistency? This is because consistency is tough and most parents do not feel like they are really achieving consistent parenting.
There is no one who is consistent one hundred percent of the time. Striving for consistency most of the time is neither unreasonable nor impossible, however. These are some of the top tips on how to become more consistent as a parent.
1. Why be consistent?
What is so important about consistent parenting anyway? The essence of this whole issue is this – if children are well aware of the consequences of their actions, meaning they can predict what will happen if they do something bad, then they are likely going to change their behavior. Consistency is what actually puts actions behind words. It is an indicator to your kids that you mean what you say.
It gives power to your word and prevents you from having to decide what action to take every time depending on how you feel at that moment, which can be exhausting and is not fair on the child. It therefore pays to deliver.
2. The role of planning
For there to be some consistency, you need to plan. Know what it is that you expect from your kids. This can be from the broad (performing well in school) to the specific (behaving in the mall). When you are well aware of your children’s idiosyncrasies, you will know what sets them off as well as the problem areas and then come up with a plan of action based on their behavior and the behavior that you expect from them. With all this in mind, you should then consistently implement your plan.
3. Involve the other parent
Regardless being in a traditional marriage or not, if both mom and dad are in the home, it is vital for both of them to be on the same page regarding expectations and discipline. It is therefore essential for both parents to sit down and discuss their plan of action. Both parents being on board with expectations, plan of action and consequences will add on to consistency.
4. Involve the children
Sources confirm that involving kids is a good idea. They need to have a say in the consequences and be sure that they comprehend the expectations. It is not fair to spring consequences and expectations to them unexpectedly. It makes more sense for kids to follow rules if they know the rules and what will befall them if they break them ahead of time.
Here’s a video on how to discipline kids:
5. Consistency is not the same as inflexibility
You do not have to be inflexible and rigid because you fear deviating from consistent parenting. Sometimes, flexibility is needed and that does not undermine consistency if you go about it in the right manner. You need to explain the change to your child if it is an exception to your rules and inform them that this will not be a habit.
If one of the consequences should be adjusted, be sure to talk to your family about it and then agree to make changes together. This is not inconsistency but it is being flexible and willing to make changes where one feels it is necessary.
And just for laughs, here’s a video on how NOT to discipline kids: