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How to be Both Consistent & Loving

By Sheri Wohlfert | GETTY IMAGES/kate_sept2004 | June 2021

How to be Both Consistent & Loving

(A Few More Tips)

As we discussed in our last column, our kids need lots of things, including fun, adventure, faith, good nutrition and consistent structure. Our children will not always agree with this list, but the evidence is strong that these elements create strong, healthy kids. One thing parenting experts agree on is that children thrive when they are in an environment where things are structured, dependable and consistent. Here are a few more tips for maintaining consistent, loving parenting — even when giving in and making the kids happy would seem easier.

BOUNDARIES HELP KIDS SUCCEED. If they know a misbehavior is going to be met with a consistent response, they can begin to focus on their own behavior rather than yours. We want to raise kids who can look at their own behavior and take responsibility for their actions. If whining and sassing doesn’t get them out of their chores or get their screen back, they begin to take a second look at their behavior.

REMEMBER, IT’S ABOUT THE LONG GAME. Today, it may be a battle over toys, bedtime or chores, but, eventually, it will become about bigger issues, such as curfews and car keys, so demonstrating consistent follow-through and consequences with the little things paves the way for the bigger things.

PREPARE YOUR PEACEFUL, CALM RESPONSE. Think of it as your mantra. It might be something like, “I love you too much to let you act this way,” or “In our family, everyone helps,” or “We use words that are kind.” If they consistently hear your response in a calm, loving tone each time, things don’t escalate.

MAKE SURE CONSEQUENCES ARE REASONABLE AND LOGICAL. Don’t threaten giant consequences to try to shock your child out of a behavior. Threatening to take away a 5-year-old’s iPad for a month so they pick up their socks just won’t work.

GET BACK UP! Everybody who loves your child wants what’s best for them, so work together.

Consistent discipline is how we raise great humans, and we do it out of love. Don’t forget to ask for the help of the Father, who loves our kids even more than we do!