Ultimate Guide to Parenting Communication

How to Be Consistent with Children

If you want to teach your child good behavior, consistency really is key. Unfortunately, the hardest part about being consistent is that you have to be consistent constantly -- hour to hour, day to day, and week to week. And between work and homework, dinner and laundry, trying to be consistent with rules and discipline can be downright exhausting.

But the truth is, if you can't follow the rules and the consequences you've set up, your children won't either. A good first step in being consistent is to try to focus on one key behavior (or misbehavior) that you want to address. Maybe you want your kids to share better or to stop calling each other names -- focus your attention on this behavior and reward (or punish) your children accordingly [source: Family Education].

Other important tips to help you be consistent are to:

  • Stay positive -- Keep calm, don't yell and make sure that you reward your children for their good behavior. Remember that the only way to reverse negative behaviors is to make rules that you stick to and enforce.
  • Be patient -- Even though you may want quick results, people don't change overnight. It took time for your children to master their misbehaviors, and it will take time for them to change them, too.
  • Expect resistance -- Your children are going to test you. You've tried to enforce rules with them before, but you haven't followed through, so expect them to test the waters. Change can be difficult, and your children are not likely to embrace your new rules right away.
  • Stick with it -- To help you stay consistent in the long term, remind yourself why consistency is important -- it shows your children the behaviors and values that are important to you and teaches them self-discipline [source: Family Education].

Over time, your child will learn what behavior is acceptable and unacceptable if you remain consistent. Go to the next page to learn how to conduct a successful family meeting.