The Benefits of Consistency
November 6th, 2012 - Category: Behavior Advice
Consistency is one of the most important factors in successful parenting. Being consistent teaches children what to expect. When they know what to expect they can predict what the consequences of their actions or behaviors will be. When they understand the consequences they tend to think more about their actions or behaviors and make better choices. And kids making better choices is fundamental in them developing into a responsible and mature adult.
Being consistent is just as important when you are reinforcing good behavior as when you are punishing bad behavior. When you consistently reinforce good behavior and make a point to notice when your children are cooperating or being nice, then the behavior will happen more often. Your child should definitely feel that your love is consistent and unconditional. And when you always follow through with a certain punishment for a negative behavior, then they can count on the consequence, and the behavior will stop.
Inconsistency makes children unsure of themselves and their surroundings. It makes them confused. When children are insecure or confused they tend to manipulate the situation or tease others or take advantage of the unclear situation.
It’s about the inevitability of the consequence, not the severity. Don’t think that the punishment needs to be severe for them to learn a lesson. If the punishment fits the offense, the most important thing to stop the bad behavior is to be consistent with the punishment. Being consistent will help them form patterns for them to grow from.
Now, being consistent doesn’t mean that you have to rule with an iron fist and be totally inflexible. But the key is to make flexibility the exception rather than the rule.
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