The Need for Consistency in Parenting – 5 Tips

17
Dec
2013

Consistency-Parenting-Tip

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?

Having Grace to Change

25
Apr
2013


We all want things to change – we want to change our kids, our spouses, our homes, our body – it can be endless.  There is something to be said for being ‘content’ for sure, but when you find the real desire to change behavior or a situation, you can only focus on yourself.  We can spin our wheels by thinking we can change other people; in reality we can only change us {with help from The Lord!}.

However, desire to change is just not enough. Deciding what changes need to be made, setting goals, and taking action steps are all required in making real changes that last.  It takes time, prayer and an attitude of grace with ourselves to move forward and tackle frustrating situations and/or behavior. [Read more...]

Managing Meltdowns

8
Nov
2012


I am back in the season of temper tantrums – wheeeee!   I’ve heard from a lot of you as well, struggling with how to handle melt-downs from our little ones in a way where we are not losing our cool.  It is hard and a constant battle – precisely what is covered in the Becoming a Calm, Cool and Confident Mom Online Coaching series.

All children display tantrums at different times and to varying severity.  My journey with 4 different children has produced four different temperaments that I’ve had to adjust in order to be the parent I need to be for them.  It means I need to grow and change, which is often very challenging!  Who ever said parenting was going to be easy?

What Is a Temper Tantrum?  

There are many levels of tantrums and vary with different personalities of children.  They will also vary with environmental influences too.  You can have some children scream, wail, flail and jump around or others may pout and stomp all over the house. However your child displays it, a temper tantrum is unmistakable. [Read more...]

The Art of Actively Listening

30
Aug
2012


Communicating with our children can be a difficult task at times.  We feel like they’re not listening to us; they feel like we’re not listening to them – it is a crazy cycle.

Good listening and communications skills are essential to successful parenting.  Your child’s feelings, views and opinions have worth, and you should make sure you take the time to sit down and listen openly and discuss them honestly.

I shared a bit about the importance of open communication and finding the times during our busy days to connect with our kids in my Back 2 School Survival Guide.  We often miss opportunities which are right in front of our eyes just because we think we don’t have the time to stop or that it doesn’t matter.  Be intentional when it comes to grabbing those moments when your child wants to share with you.  This is even more critical as your children enter the tween/teen years!

You can learn a lot about our kids when we take the time to just ‘be’ with them and truly hear them, we just need to keep a few things in mind.

Respond – Not React

It seems to be a natural tendency to react rather than to respond.  This seems to be automatically how we are wired – especially for those of us who struggle with being inpatient and with the inability to pause in the midst of conflict. We pass judgment based on our own feelings and experiences.  However, responding means being receptive to our child’s feelings and emotions and allowing them to express themselves openly and honestly without fear of repercussion from us.  [Read more...]

Dangers of Moms Multitasking

15
Mar
2012


Moms love to multitask!  Yes, we sure do!!

It can be the only way we get through our big ‘to-do’ list everyday, but who is really paying for all this hurrying and scurrying around? Our family often can feel less than important if we tend to to do much, and you have to ask yourself – what is really more important?

There are dangers associated with trying to do all and be all as moms.  Take a listen to this short audio blog I did about a year ago that shares my perspective and hidden dangers of doing too much when we should be slowing down with just ‘being’ with our family.

Two big ones:

1.  Multitasking inhibits your ability to be 100% present

2.  Following through and being consistent declines

After listening to the audio, what else pops out in your mind?  We need to be really careful with this one and I even share how I struggle with it during a new season in my life!