The Need for Consistency in Parenting – 5 Tips



Consistency: how many parents sigh or roll their eyes when they hear that word?  I know, I get it a lot.  That’s because consistency is tough, and most parents don’t feel like they are nearly consistent enough.  This is probably the most critical topic that I cover when I begin coaching a mom and we work out a plan to get things back on track in the home.

I thought that it might be a good time to cover a few basic guidelines when it comes to parenting our kiddos, especially with us embarking on Christmas break soon, having the possibility of traveling, visiting family and getting things out of ‘whack’!  We all know what no routine does to everyone’s behavior!

No one is consistent 100% of the time. But aiming for consistency the majority of the time is not unreasonable or impossible.  As Hal Runkel says in ScreamFree Parenting and what I share in my online coaching program, we need to be ridiculously consistent!  It is hard, but it is worth it!

Here are some tips on how to be more consistent as a parent and understanding why it is important.

Why Be Consistent?

What’s the big deal about consistency anyway? The point of all this consistency talk is simply this: if kids know the consequences of a behavior, and there’s no area of doubt, then they’re probably more likely to modify their behavior. BINGO!  That is what you are trying to help them learn, to make better choices!

Consistency puts action behind your words; it shows your kids that you do mean what you say. It gives your words power, and prevents you from having to take action every single time (often a different action every single time, which gets exhausting). So it pays to deliver!

“It comes down to integrity: meaning what you say, saying what you mean, and following through with what you promise.”   –  Hal Runkel

The Role of Planning

Planning ahead is important for consistency. Determine what your expectations for your kids are, from the broad (doing well in school) to the specific (behaving in the grocery store). Armed with your knowledge of your kids’ idiosyncrasies – you know what sets them off and you know the “problem areas” – come up with a plan of action based on their behavior and the behavior you expect. Then calmly implement your plan…consistently.

This strategy has helped me immensely over the years.  Different children, personalities and unique issues are prone to wear us down as moms, but we can use our minds and think ahead to trouble areas and try to avoid them.

Involve the Other Parent

Whether you are in a traditional marriage or not, if Mom and Dad are both in the home, it’s important for them to be on the same page regarding discipline and expectations. So a good idea is to sit down with the other parent and discuss your plans of action. Having both parents on board with the plan of action, expectations, and consequences just adds to the consistency.  If you do not have this, do not think things are doomed.  You will just be doing what you decide to do and cannot worry about the actions of the other parent.   Allowing them to dictate what you do is not a good idea.

Involve the Kids

Really? Yes, involving the kids is a healthy idea. Let them have a voice in the consequences, and make sure they understand the expectations. It’s not really fair to spring the consequences and expectations on them unexpectedly; it makes more sense for kids to follow rules if they know the rules (and the consequences of breaking them) ahead of time!  Having a family meeting to set up expectations is a great way to get everyone on board.  Allowing discussion on family rules and expectations as well as consequences for not following them is a great way to share in the process of working together for the whole good.

Consistency Is Not the Same as Inflexibility

There’s really no need to be rigid and inflexible for fear of appearing inconsistent. Sometimes, flexibility is required, and that should not undermine your consistency if you go about it the right way. For example, explain the change to your child – if it’s an exception to the usual rule, let them know why and that this is not going to be a habit. Or maybe one of the consequences does need to be adjusted; talk it over as a family and agree to make the change together.

This is not being inconsistent; it’s being flexible and willing to make changes where necessary, which is likely as good a model for your children as being consistent!  Learning to be open and allowing for different circumstance to enter into your thought process is one way you show your children that you can be realistic and reliable as well.

“Consistent enforcement of consequences is the single most effective application of authority in the parent-child relationship.”  Hal Runkel

Do you have trouble with consistency?

Just One More Thing – Before You Leave Home – Review



Just One More Thing – Before You Leave Home

I was given a copy of this book for my honest review, which you will find below.

Did you ever wish you had a manual telling you just what you really need to impress upon your kids before they leave home?  As a parent, we can often question ourselves and our ability to equip our kids with what they need to succeed.  If you need some parenting input from a couple who’s been there, you won’t want to miss this book!

Now, I have already had one child leave home and go off to college, things have went fairly well with all things considered.  But after reading, “Just One More Thing – Before You Leave Home” by David and Bernice Gudgel there are a few areas I wish I would have concentrated on a bit more to make things even smoother as my daughter left home.

It can be a daunting process of preparing your child to leave home and really be a “grown up” and ready for adulthood.  Hopefully you’ve been already sharing your perspective on life, morals and values as your child matures, but this book gives a specific outline of topics to cover which are a perfect gauge to make sure you are on the right track and not missing any big points

The book is outlined as a resource for parents, but also written with the goal of a parent and child working through the book together, with some discussion questions in a “think if through” section, which I love.  Practical questions and thoughts to really bring home the message of the chapters.

Just One More Thing is filled with practical advice to help teens transition out of the house and into the rest of their life as capable and responsible adults.

In the book, the Gudgels use stories, perspectives, and dialogues to discuss 30 indispensable topics.  You’ll find chapters on a variety of chapters, including:

  • Choices
  • Convictions
  • Love
  • Money
  • Spending
  • Lie Purpose
  • Priorities
  • Moral Dilemmas
  • Failure
  • Practical Skills
  • and Sex 

This book is like a “life manual” and I even found it good to review some of the topics the author was sharing – even at my age of 46!  

If you have a teenager in the house and are wanting to prepare for the years to come with allowing your child to mature and grow and become an adult ready for adulthood, grab a copy of this book and set aside some time to read it.  Then as your child approaches the time to venture out on his own, spend some time reviewing the material together.  

I certainly wish I had this book before, but I have it now – and still have 3 kids at home!

For more information on this book and the author, please click here.

Back To School Study Habit Tips


Are you in the midst of battling homework and setting up expectations for the school year?   It can be rough, especially if you have a child who is dead set on trying to make his own path and go against all your rules.  I talk in detail about homework, setting up a homework station and more in my Back 2 School Survival Guide and wanted to share a few ideas for those who might just be experiencing some frustration right about now!

When we were kids, if we didn’t do our homework there were severe consequences.  I can remember being grounded so many times – do kids even get grounded anymore?  Today, with TV, video games, sports and other distractions available for kids to put off studying and completing homework assignments it is even more important to encourage and expect strong study habits at the beginning of the school year.  When you take the time early to set up those expectations and consistency, it will pay off. [Read more...]

Setting Realistic Expectations for Your Child


School’s back in session and things are beginning to look a bit more serious.  Gone are the carefree days of summer, now everyone is back to work, back to a routine and back responsibility.

As moms, we are born encouragers.  We want our kids to succeed.  When kids succeed, they feel good about themselves which feeds into self-esteem and more.  so what steps do we take to get them on track to being their best?

Children will do what is expected of them. If you set high expectations for your children, they will generally live up to those expectations. Expect very little of them and they will give you very little.

As a parent, it is important to find the right balance of setting expectations that are high without setting your child up for failure or causing undue stress on them when they are unable to reach those expectations.  It is a balancing act and you know your child best and can make the appropriate guidelines for him.  We too often doubt ourselves, I talk about this in my book, “Become the Confident Mom You’ve Always Wanted to Be,” and how we truly need to believe in our own instincts as moms and the knowledge only we have about our children. [Read more...]

Teaching Our Kids Optimism


If you could take small steps now to point your child toward a life which would likely include lower stress, better health, more confidence and a more positive outlook, would you be interested?

There benefits of optimism are shown over and over again.  Researchers like Martin Seligman have been studying optimists and pessimists for years, and they have found that an optimistic world view carries certain advantages.  One example:

In a study of 99 Harvard University students, those who were optimists at age 25 were significantly healthier at ages 45 and 60 than those who were pessimists.

There is much to say about the whole nurture or nature philosophy, and one I am learning about with children from 3 different sets of parents all under the same roof.  It is interesting to see how you can influence your child’s tendency toward an optimistic outlook or pessimistic thinking – I do truly believe optimism can be a learned behavior. [Read more...]