One of the basic tenets of the parent education I provide is that consistency is essential to successful parenting.
Take, for example, the client whose daughter was potty training. Most days she woke up in the morning and was changed from a diaper in to underwear. However, on some days when Mom felt rushed in the morning, or they were going to be out of the house for a long period, she put a diaper on her daughter. How confusing! As potty training reached it’s 6 month of only part time success, this Mom reached out. The solution? Be consistent!
The same can be said for many areas of parenting. Now, don’t get me wrong, just being consistent is not going to solve every issue that arises. A wise man once to me “You fight the battles worth winning.” And it’s true. There have to be some family rules that are non-negotiable. It’s in those areas where it’s essential to be consistent. So, what are your non-negotiables? If you could only pick 3, what would they be? Does your toddler have to sit at the table when eating? Does your preschooler need to put his toys away at the end of the day? Is climbing on the furniture a no-no in your house?
When a parent reacts inconsistently, children often feel insecure and test limits. This can show up as whining, insisting, bargaining or having a temper tantrum. Not fun for anyone! On the other hand, when a parent’s reactions are consistent and predictable, the child knows just what to do. They know what is expected of them. Being able to meet someone’s expectations feels good, no matter your age.