The ‘C’ word of parenting: Consistent Parenting
I don’t blog on parenting often. It’s not for lack of knowledge, but like many of you I’m sure, I never feel that I have it all together. I certainly don’t feel like an expert. What works well for me one day, will backfire in biblical proportions the next! That’s just how parenting goes right? So, I write this post tongue-in-cheek, knowing that this is just as much for me as it is for anyone else out there that needs a little encouragement or a kick in the pants; like I do.
I’m sure there are also many c-words floating around in your head right now! The word that has been resonating with me lately is CONSISTENCY.
Consistency, as a parent, is tough. It takes time, effort, energy, and pushing through the annoyance of being consistent when we have to tell your 8-year-old to stop picking on their sibling for the 3,598th time in the past 20 minutes. But what I’ve noticed lately is that kids love structure. They love boundaries and they thrive in them! They also need them. We are raising the next generation. Let’s not raise the next generation to be terrible humans.
Kids are smart, right? I’m sure you’ve watched your 2-year old work the iPad better than you can. Kids know when we will and when we won’t follow through with what we tell them. Kids know when we are all talk and won’t really take away the Legos, or put them in the corner, or spank them, or, or, or or! (I know not all parents spank and that’s 100% your choice, but for the sake of the post I put it in here too).
Are you a hot-air balloon mom? Meaning, do you spew hot air of “threats” to your kids but never get off the couch to do anything about it? Is it because you’re on your phone? Or tired? Or lazy? What’s the deal?! Why is it so hard to be consistent with our kids? I think it’s literally the ONE thing that can turn our demon children into respectful children and subsequently respectful adults. I struggle with this. I struggle to pull myself away from being “productive” to properly correct my children.
Do you sound like this?
“Johnny! So, help me if you hit your sister again I’ll come in there and whoop you!” Yet you never get off the couch even though he does it three more times.
“Andrew! I said you couldn’t have another cookie! If you ask again I’m going to put you in the corner.” Yet you never put him in the corner even though he changed how he asked, but is still asking and sneakily disobeying you.
It’s difficult for our kids to obey us when we’re ONLY constantly yelling from the other room.
Maybe it’s something more serious that you need to be consistent with. Perhaps it’s a sleep schedule or a medication schedule. While the idea of having children on medication consistently breaks my heart (as I’m sure it does you too!) if it benefits the child to be medicated for this season of life, then medicate the child consistently! We’ve been there, friends. Do what’s best for your tiny human. Little human bodies are so sensitive to that kind of stuff and again, they thrive on consistency. We can’t inconsistently medicate our children then wonder why they’re not behaving the way we wish them too. That’s not their fault, it’s ours! I get it, mama, I wish everything could be fixed with essential oils too! Lord knows I’ve tried! But that’s just not the way some things work.
It’s the exact same way for a sleep schedule. My almost two-year-old must go to bed between 7 pm and 8 pm to get enough sleep or he is a terror! Not just the typical 2-year-old stuff, but like I have summoned Damon Omen from the deep, kind of terror. Since I’m the adult and the parent, it’s my job to make sure that he gets what he needs! That’s what parents are supposed to do! Not always what he wants, but absolutely what he needs. I can’t be mad/upset/angry with my child for being a terror when I was just plain too lazy to put him to bed when he needed to be put to sleep. Again, kids thrive on consistency.
Now, whether you’re religious or not I’m sure you’ve heard the verses:
Proverbs 13:24, “Whoever spares the rod hates his son, but he who loves him is diligent to discipline him.”
Hebrews 12:11, “For the moment all discipline seems painful, rather than pleasant, but later it yields peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.”
Proverbs 23:13-15, “Do not withhold discipline from a child; if you [discipline him], he will not die. If you [discipline him] you will save his soul from [hell]. My son, if your heart is wise, my heart too will be glad.”
We can clearly see that there is a difference between beneficial discipline and abuse. Just like there is a difference between discipline and punishment. Discipline corrects behavior. Punishment penalizes the child for being a child but does not correct their behavior. They are NOT the same thing. Now, what discipline looks like in your family is up to you and what works for your kiddos. My kid’s currency changes DAILY. If time outs worked yesterday, I can almost bet money that it won’t work tomorrow. It’s my job, as his parent, to find what works to correct that negative behavior so he doesn’t turn out to be a terrible human being when he is older!
It’s not so much for my benefit (although it does help), as it is for all the people that have to deal with my children long after they’re out of my house.
Moral of the story parents:
Let’s try consistent parenting:
Be consistent with their sleep, medication, schedules, disciplining, your follow through. Be parents of your word. When you say stuff like, “if you do this again I will put you in the corner!” actually do it! Follow through with your words. Be parents of integrity in that way. Let’s show our children what it’s like to be consistent, loving, parents who only want the best for them! Let’s show our children what it’s like to be a respectful, responsible adult. Let’s not raise tiny douche bag children.