Parenting: The Importance of Consistency With Your Child
This is the last week of this parenting series and today I will be touching on the topic of consistency. Consistency is what will make all the other tools effective and long lasting. Consistency can be applied to all areas of parenting, from discipline and consequences, to routine and play time.
Think about it like this, if you started a new job and did not receive clear instructions on what you should be doing, you may already start to feel uneasy about the overall position. Next, imagine if your boss started getting frustrated with you for not completing tasks in a timely manner or in the right format, your anxiety may now be steadily increasing. Finally, imagine you came in the next day and started doing exactly what you did the day before, but your boss had changed their expectations again and you had to adapt to a new way of engaging in your job. At this point your anxiety may be quite high and trying to do well could feel almost impossible.
As parents, we may be unintentionally creating this same dynamic with our little ones. Our kids need help to know the expectations we have as parents, so finding ways to clearly state them whether verbally and/or posting them in the home will begin to create clear and consistent expectations. Yes, consistency is partially about being clear and maintaining the same expectations for your child, but the other important piece is responding to your children in the same way whether they have done something well or your child did not meet the expectation in the home.
For example, if your child completed an assigned task or chore, you as the parent can provide them with praise for being a great listener or thanking them for completing the assignment. This will encourage your child to engage in more positive and healthy behavior because you have provided consistent praise for accepted behavior. This same concept is applied to when your child chooses to ignore a command or engage in unhealthy or disrespectful behavior. You as the parent need to follow through with the predetermined consequence for any unwanted behavior. Empty threats or inconsistent consequences will encourage your little one to continue to push and break the boundaries you implemented.
Work with your support system, whether that is your partner, family, and/or friends and determine what you want to encourage in your home and what behaviors you want to discourage. Predetermine what the consequence system or behavioral chart will look like and then stick to it!
Now, I am aware that this is significantly easier said than done! PCIT, or Parent Child Interaction Therapy, can help create this road map of consistency with the support of a therapist coaching you along the way. Please schedule a free consultation if you have further questions or schedule your first PCIT session with me today using this link.