Parenting is also about being CONSISTENT; consistent caring, consistent control, and consistent monitoring where needed. Children need to be cared for, given rules and structures for how to behave, along with being encouraged to explore the world on their own terms, consistently. This means daily, even hourly. (And yes, you can have bad days without ruining your kids.) Difficulties are ever-present, from finances to traffic jams to custody issues, and simply not having enough time in the day; but it takes moments, not hours, to convey love and caring.
Being consistent is somewhat like the basics of losing weight. We would like to think that this type of tea or the newest diet pill will work its magic and make us lose 20 pounds without having to change our diet or exercise habits. Most of us will learn that ‘it just ain’t so, Joe’. We all have to consistently pay attention to the basics of healthy nutrition and good exercise if we expect to make any diet work for very long. The same applies to parenting. Pay attention to the basics of caring and consistency through all the ups and downs, and your children will flourish. However few of us are able to be consistent always. We are inconsistent at times, for one reason or another; societal pressures, financial pressures, time constraints, etc. On such occasions where our consistency falters, it helps to explain the reason for our lack of consistency or at least acknowledge to our children that there was a moment of inconsistency which will not be a continuing occurrence.
CONSISTENCY simply means:
Routines: Establish routines that add stability and a sense of security to their lives. Your daily routine might include having breakfast together, after-school cookies, helping with dinner, doing homework, teeth cleaning and regular bedtime with stories and hugs.
Planning: Plan ahead by discussing their weekly and daily schedules, This develops and strengthens their executive functions of logic, planning and organization and encourages a sense of responsibility in your children.
Plan for ‘free’ time to encourage independence and creativity. And allow for spontaneity in your lives. If an opportunity to do something interesting or exciting presents it self be prepared to change your routines to take advantage of it. Your children will earn to constantly evaluate their priorities and be flexible changing their plans and routine when appropriate.
Timeliness: Get them (and you) to school, church, work, and other appointments on time, which teaches time management without lecturing.
Consistent consequences: Try, as much as possible, to be consistent in your delivery of consequences for behaviour which does not meet, or exceeds, your agreed expectations. Your children should understand your expectation of them as far as their behaviour and performance is concerned. It is important that they are held to those standards and that there are consistent consequences for not meeting, or exceeding, those standards. It helps to develop personal responsibility in your children if you let them face the consequences of not being consistent, i.e., no homework completed results in a failing grade, which means they can’t stay over with a friend on Friday night.