Christine Poulos, MD
Practical Parenting Advice from my Pediatric Practice...
Are you being manipulated by your toddler? Do you feel exhausted in parenting?
This concept is HUGE!! What does this mean exactly and how can we implement this effectively in our parenting? By definition, consistency means from late 16th century Latin, “standing firm”.
How can we implement this in our parenting? Simple…
First: Be clear in your expectations, rules, or boundaries. I find writing it down on a chalkboard, dry eraser board, or typing it on a piece of paper to have it VERY visible in the main area of your house. Review these rules with your children when they are paying attention, so everything is very clear. Keep the number of rules to a small amount for age appropriateness. (1-3) for young children.
Second: Make your consequences very clear. It is also helpful to write them down on the same paper, chalkboard, or dry erase board. Make the consequences something that you can keep! This is SUPER important!!!! You never want to threaten something that cannot be followed through.
“Santa will not bring you any presents” – Really??
“You will not go with us to Disneyworld” – Seriously??
“You will NEVER be able to use the iPad again” – I don’t think so…?
As soon as your child realizes that this is NOT going to happen, your parenting strategy is over.
THIRD: Immediately catch your child when they are misbehaving or breaking one of the rules – that’s not always easy, but it’s very important. If they know they can get away with something, they will! Stop what you’re doing and give your full attention. Reprimand them at their level and in a kind, loving way. You are doing this because you LOVE them. You may need to kneel down, put them on your lap, or sit down in front of them so you have their full attention. Show them the board or paper that has the rule on it and then discuss what they did and how they broke the rule.
Lastly (and most importantly): Follow through on the consequence!! Keep it age appropriate – a time out, taking the electronic away, no story time that night. Keep the punishment to only one day. Don’t make it for a week or several days. Every day is a fresh day and everyone is forgiven for their mistakes!
This is an important lesson to learn. If children are given consistent discipline, they will grow to trust the world they live in and understand rules and consequences. Ultimately, it builds confidence to know that their parents are guiding them in the right direction in life.