Parent SKILLZ – Consistency
“Be as consistent as possible regardless of your mood.”
When it comes to parenting, it is important to have CONSISTENCY. The problem is, being consistent is hard. However, children need to be able to count on you not to ‘lose it’ if they make a simple mistake, and that you will still be loving when you are in a bad mood.
So, what does it take to parent with CONSISTENCY?
For starters, be consistent with your rules to help mold proper behavior. Kids need structure. With that said, be sure to plan ahead with your rules and expectations so you are prepared to calmly implement your plans when necessary. At the same time, don’t make irrational threats that you can’t/won’t follow through on.
Get in touch with what really matters. If you enforce rules sometimes and then other times you don’t because the rule really isn’t that important to you, then perhaps you should abandon that rule. For example: why can’t your child have dessert with dinner if they eat everything on their plate? Why make them wait for dessert until after they eat everything else, especially if you already plan on giving them dessert regardless?
Deploy consistent reinforcement. Behaviors can be conditioned if you consistently reinforce them. This includes both positive and negative behaviors that are important. For example: telling your child how proud you are when they have good behavior at a restaurant will help condition that specific behavior. At the same time, if your child knows there’s a consequence every time they break a rule that is important to follow, then they are more likely to stop that behavior. For example: if they throw their iPad when they are angry, then they lose iPad time for an entire day. If you sometimes let that rule slide, then they are more likely going to take chances on that behavior.
Model the behavior you desire from your child. For example: when enforcing rules, keep your emotions out of it. This can be hard, especially when you’ve had a stressful day. However, when you address rules calmly and rationally, then you are showing your child you can manage your emotions. This will help them learn how to manage their own behaviors regardless of mood.
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