Just be consistent.
Comsistency is the key.
If you are consistent with your discipline then everything works out.
Hmmmmmm maybe. But maybe not.
You see when we talk about being ‘consistent’, we are talking about acting the same way every time the same thing comes up with our children and then therefore they will comply, do what they are told, and there will be peace and harmony in our home.
What happens though is that the same set of circumstances rarely comes up again and again.
With wee kids you might be trying to get them to sit at the table without getting up and down like a yoyo, but maybe you are having a nightmare day, and are having dinner a good hour later than normal. Are you setting your kid up to fail? Is it fair for you to enforce consistency from their actions, when you can’t even set dinner up at a consistent time?
With your teenager you might be trying to limit time on the internet due to upcoming exam studying, which hasn’t been going well. To counteract this ‘new’ consistent rule they might be spending more time surfing on the web at school, rather than waiting till they get home to have downtime. So, is your consistent rule of ‘no internet’ after dinner having the desired effect? Or are you setting yourself up for other issues and resentments?
The other problem with consistency is it usually comes down to how dedicated the parent is to enforcing consistency rather than the behaviour of the child. So, more than anything else going on here we are almost always teaching our children to give something a go, just in case we can’t be bothered with it this time. This happens because we attach being consistent to a ‘bad’ behaviour, or situation rather than looking at the bigger picture.
For consistency in behaviour stuff to work, you need to look outside of the initial problems going on at home.
- Why are there problems?
- What are the problems?
- Why do these need ‘fixing’?
- Am I contributing to the problem?
- Is there something else that could be happening to deter the problem before it starts?
- What else does my child need that I’m not providing?
- Is there a personality clash here? Or is this bigger than that?
Its important to take a look at lots of things going on. A lot of times ‘bad’ behaviour that traditionally takes ‘consistent’ action, may be the result of your child needing attention. It may mean that your child needs some more ‘wins’ in their life. It may mean that they are lacking in energy as a result of their personality needs. It may mean that there is a sibling problem, a school problem, a friend problem …
‘Consistency’ as a catch phrase is not just something that you attack in isolation and then fail at, and then blame yourself for not being ‘consistent’ enough, which is why you still have bad behaviour in your home.
Consistency may have NOTHING to do with it.
If you need some help figuring this sort of stuff out then email me to set up time for a chat firstname.lastname@example.org