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When it comes to raising children, one of the most important goals you should have as a parent is to be consistent. In today’s fast-paced world, many parents find this hard to achieve because they are overworked and exhausted. The last thing they want to do after a long day is have a fight with a strong-willed child. However, being consistent will help them not only feel safe, but also lead to improvements in their behavior.
One of the most important parts of being consistent is acting early. Prolonging consequences for poor behavior often results in a parent coming down on the child harder than they would have if they had handled things sooner. As a result, this will cause the child to become resentful, resulting in even further rebellion down the road.
Consistency also means the child will receive the same consequences from both parents. Children learn at a young age to play parents against each other. If both are not on the same page when it comes to discipline and limit-setting, then the house will quickly descend into chaos.
One may wonder: “Why does consistency make a child feel safe?” The answer can be summed up in one word: predictability. Over time, the child will know how you will react to certain things. They will know what to expect. These certainties are what give them a sense of security.
As stated in the introduction, many parents today find it hard to stay consistent due to the busy nature of the modern world. Two parents with different work schedules might think they have no time to sit down and make sure they are on the same page.
For parents who live this kind of lifestyle, it is imperative that you set aside some time to talk to each other and develop a way to be consistent with the children. Here are some ideas to help you get started.
Pick one or two behaviors to focus on.
Give yourself a tangible reminder about the behavior you want to follow up. For example, leave a note somewhere that says, “Walk away when a child whines.”
Check your routines. The simpler they are, the better.
Act instead of talk. Giving chance after chance does NOT make for consistency.
Reach agreement with your partner on important issues like discipline methods, going out, the use of electronics, alcohol, and so on.