At this point, if you have followed the Pillars of Parenting series, you have learned about relationship, values, how to align your rules and expectations to your values, and how to approach keeping your kids accountable to the rules and expectations in your family. So now here we are, ready to discuss the final step- Consistency.
Consistency is what I would call the “Real Work.” Understanding all the pillars is incredibly important. It’s the what and how of the “to do” list. However, consistency has more to do with the “doing” part of the “to do” list. You’ve come to a better understanding of what to do and how to make the changes in your family that you are looking for, but unless you take consistent action toward these changes, nothing can really be different. We can’t just KNOW what to do, we have to actually DO IT…as in all the time….every day….even when it’s difficult….and yes, this is the hard part of parenting.
I can know how to eat right and exercise to lose weight. I can absolutely know that these are the actions it will take to drop some pounds. And I can totally do that on any single given day. I can even do it really, REALLY well ONE whole day! However, after a day or two and skipping some really enticing opportunities to eat some favorite, not-so-healthy things, my willpower can get shot pretty quickly and, next thing you know, I’m two pizza slices and a side of cake down at that weekend’s birthday party. Taking the correct action really well for one single day will not move the scale, will not help me fit into my skinny jeans, and will not help me make progress toward my goals. CONSISTENT ACTION is what will create progress toward any goal including positive changes in your family.
Keep in mind I said consistent. I did NOT say “perfect.”
So here are some things to understand about consistency when it comes to parenting. Consistency not only has the power to create lasting change but also has other magical powers - like creating better trust and bonds in your family and helping to keep negative emotions to a minimum. It’s kind of like good tires on a car. Not only are they going to get you where you need to go, but they’ll make the ride smoother through the rough spots as well.
Consistent Action = Change
As mentioned already, no lasting change typically comes without consistent action. It will never be enough to know what to do, you actually have to do it, over and over and over again. I think we are clear on this aspect, so moving on….
Consistent Action = Better Trust
So, you may be thinking, “How on earth does consistently putting my kid in time out when they won’t follow my directions make them trust me more?” But here’s the thing - when we respond to their emotions and behaviors in a consistent way we are teaching them where the boundary is for those things. Over time, when they experience these consistent responses and boundary setting, they begin to subconsciously feel they can TRUST us to keep them safe.
Consistent Action = Better Relationship
In addition consistent action builds better relationships because kids begin to trust and expect how you will respond to them. They have less fear in what will come down the pipe when they mess up or break a rule and instead can trust you - and the process you’ve created - to keep them accountable for their actions.
Consistent Action = Less Emotional Explosions
When parents have a plan on how they will respond to different situations they have a refreshing new confidence about even the most annoying or frustrating things their kids do and can respond with their plan of action instead of an explosion of words and emotions. And when kids are fully aware of how parents will respond to their behaviors and actions because it’s been the same every time, the last 10 times, they will be less upset with their consequences and be less reactive when you have to make them accountable for their actions. Instead, they will expect the time out or loss of privilege or whatever it is, and start preparing themselves to be accountable for their behavior instead of throwing that big melt down like your murdering them by suggesting they lose their video games.
So in the end, knowing is only half the battle (thanks GI Joe!), it’s the “doing consistently” that will carve out change in your family and your confidence as a parent. Realizing change needs to happen is the first step. Learning some new perspectives and strategies to help you move in the right direction is the next. Then, consistent action is the marathon that should help you get to where you want to be.
However, not everyone is successful working through these steps alone. Some parents find that this course of action works for most of their children, but there are one or two kids that have parents at the end of their rope, feeling like “nothing works.” In other families, it’s the parents themselves (whether separated or not) that are having trouble working on the “same page,” with each parent using very different parenting styles and finding little common ground. Others can get a bit lost when trying to make the Pillars of Parenting work for them. And still others can’t see where the problem is, they just know that their family could be doing better.
There are many circumstances that bring parents to utilize my parent coaching services, but the goals are always the same - to find new strategies to make parenting easier and less stressful while creating positive change within the home. Please contact me to learn how parent coaching can work for your family and create a more peaceful household. Contact me today about in–person or online coaching services. I look forward to learning more about your challenges and uniquely wonderful family!