One of the things that the majority of moms find most challenging about parenting is being consistent.
One reason it’s hard to be consistent is that I’m just too tired. Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep last night, or maybe I’ve been dealing with the kids all day long and have had enough, or maybe I just sat down to rest my feet for a second. It seems that when I’m most tired, that’s exactly when my children will test my authority by disobeying. Should I let it slide — just this once?
Sometimes it’s hard to be consistent because I don’t really believe that I have the authority to tell someone else what to do, even if it’s a small child. I wonder whether I have that right, if I’m violating someone else’s rights, or if my authority will make it harder for my child to learn to make decisions on his own.
Sometimes it’s hard to be consistent because I’m not sure if my parenting methods will really work. I second guess my decisions (or my husband’s decisions) because I just don’t really have the answers that I need as a parent. Because I’m constantly changing my mind and doubting myself, I communicate this indecision to my children.
The solution to inconsistency is to first dive into God’s Word to find out what it says. I have found through the years that great peace comes from reading the Bible and putting my trust and hope in its advice. After all, if God is really God, then it stands to reason that I can depend on what He says.
- When the Bible says that children should honor and obey their parents, I can confidently expect my children to honor and obey me. I’m not requiring something “because I said so” — but because GOD says so!
- When the Bible says that the “rod and reproof bring wisdom, but a child left to himself brings his mother to shame,” I can rest in my parenting methods, knowing that it is indeed my place as a mother to teach and train my child. He needs me! He doesn’t need to flounder on his own when God gave him me as a mother.
Another solution to inconsistency is to realize that being consistent today will greatly reduce the amount of work I have to do tomorrow. It’s much easier to train a small child to obey than it is to deal with the problems of a rebellious teenager. I might be tired tonight — but getting up and dealing with my child just one more time will eventually result in a peaceful and joyful home for all of us.
Finally, a major solution to inconsistency is to learn not to threaten, repeat, nag, bribe, or whine at my children. Rather than raising my voice, arguing with them, or debating my commands, I simply ask them to obey. One time. No more. Children will rise to my expectations, and I won’t get into a “game” of who can last the longest. (After all, kids have more energy than I do and can usually win this game.) Rather, I will state a command once, then get UP and deal with any disobedience or disrespect right away, without raising my voice or arguing with a two-year-old child.
My book, The Four Foundations of Lifelong Learning, was written to give you many more fresh ideas on how to be a consistent parent. It’s filled with practical examples, stories, and sample scenarios, so you can SEE what consistency looks like in a normal home.