We all hear and know about consistency, but how many of us practice it in parenting? Jason and Alan explore the importance of consistency in being a dad. Young children prefer consistency. They know what to expect and crave routine. This starts when the baby is just born. You learn early on that being consistent with feedings, bath time, sleep patterns, etc. makes your life a little more predictable and the baby calmer. Now of course when the routine is broken, we can go crazy and think the universe is out of whack.
As a child gets older, it means that rules and expectations are the same from one time to another. It allows the world to be less confusing. It frees them from worrying about what happens next. Do you wonder why a young child wants to watch the same movie over and over? or wants to read the same book every night? What about wearing the same costume every single day?
Jason mentions an article from from about.com: http://fatherhood.about.com/od/effectivediscipline/a/consistency.htm which talks about 3 basic ways fathers need to demonstrate consistency:
- Consistency in rules and consequences
- Consistency between parents
- Consistent routines
The university of Alabama also had an article on why consistency is important. Here are some of the reasons:
– It gives the child a sense of security
– Children of consistent parents experience less anxiety
– Daily routines cause a more peaceful home life
– Helps develop their sense of responsibility because they know what is expected of them
– Consistent rules cause less pushing of limits. Quickly learn no means no
– Less temper tantrums, arguing, and bargaining as they grow
– Inconsistency can cause confusion, poor self esteem, and often time negative values
So what do we do to be more consistent:
– Pick a few rules to start and stick to them. Don’t overhwhelm.
– Be prepared to enforce rules
– Do not give up even when it’s really hard
– If you disagree as parents, talk privately toward a compromise
– Praise positive behavior, reinforce
– Adjust your approach per child as they are each unique
They will develop into responsible, secure, confident young adults.