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Easy ways to be a more consistent parent

Team StoryWeavers|June 21, 2022, 17:31 IST|

To Be A More Consistent Parent

Children respond to consistency. ‘Stay consistent’ is the one piece of advice that every parent gets to hear more often. Being consistent as a parent is one of the good parenting practices as it has multiple benefits for the child. In parenting, consistency is mostly about how parents respond to different events. However, it does take a lot of energy to be a consistent parent. 

In this article, we will take a look at:

Benefits of consistency for children

Consistency benefits children in two distinct ways: It establishes boundaries and creates a sense of security. It teaches children what to expect from their parents in different situations. It creates a sense of security in the minds of children as they understand different boundaries and the consequences of crossing them. It makes children see their parents as predictable people who can be relied upon. Consistency also helps children understand that parents are simply correcting their behaviour and not rejecting them as people. 

Tips to implement different parenting strategies consistently

A book by Sue Edgerley, Five Keys Parenting, lists a few tips and tricks that parents can use to implement different parenting strategies consistently. Sue Edgerley has fifteen plus years of experience working with children in school and in childcare settings. Here are some tips she has mentioned in her book. 

  • Keep it simple. If you have a simple plan that works for both a six year old and a three year old, you are more likely to be successful in using it consistently. Have similar consequences for different situations to make it easier to be consistent. It also makes it easier for the child to remember the consequences of crossing the line. 
  • Make discipline your first response and not the last resort when you are at your wits’ end. For example: if you expect your child to follow or respond to the instructions within two minutes, do follow it up with a discipline consequence after those two minutes are over. Do not give second chances or let the situation slide because you are not in the mood to escalate minor situations. 
  • Before setting a new rule or consequence, check if you are equipped to enforce it all the time. If you are even a little doubtful, do take some time to think it through. It lets the child know that you will take necessary action every single time. 
  • Stick to the plan even when you feel guilty, even when your child apologises a hundred times, or even when you have other pressing concerns. When a parent chooses not to follow the plan, the strategy, no matter how good, becomes ineffective. 
  • Explain the boundaries, and consequences of different actions and misbehavior when you establish them. Try not to explain, argue, or rationalise your stand when children invariably cross the limits. It may lead to either you losing your composure or changing your stand; both will lead you to be inconsistent. Remove these obstacles by not engaging in the moment. Afterwards when things have calmed down, you can have a conversation with your children. 

It is important for parents to work together as a team when it comes to parenting their little ones, more so while dealing with difficult behaviour. Choosing a plan that works for both parents is the key for consistency. Present a uniform front. At times when you disagree with your spouse’s parenting choices, do appear supportive in front of the children and discuss the issue later in private. 

What do you think about these tips? Do you think these will help you become a consistent parent? Do let us know of your experience in the comments section. 

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About the Author

“Me-kha-la!” That happens at least once when she introduces herself to new people. She wholeheartedly believes in the quote by Arthur Rubinstein that says – “if you love life, life will love you back”. She is an organizational psychologist and psychometrician. She was a class teacher of 36 adorable girls for two years, grades 2 & 3, as a part of the Teach For India Fellowship. These little girls have a special place in her heart, and when she writes for children, she writes for them!

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