Children need consistency. After all, if the same action meets with smiles and praise one day and yelling and punishment the next, how are they supposed to make any sense of the world?
Parents need consistency too. Without it, not only do they make a rod for their own backs in terms of their children’s behavior, but they become exhausted trying to decide each time how to handle a particular situation. Although it is not always easy to be consistent, here are a few useful tips to help keep you on track.
1. It is impossible to have a strategy for every conceivable difficult situation, so decide which behaviors you want to prioritize and concentrate on those.
2. Choose a quiet and relatively stable time to bring in new regimes and disciplines so that you can give them your full attention.
3. Psyche yourself up for the times of day when bad behavior is most likely – mornings, the period after school, and before dinner and bedtime.
4. Write yourself reminders of the good and bad behaviors that you have chosen to prioritize, and post them where they are always in view.
5. Expect your children to test you and for there to be temporary setbacks. Persevere.
6. Keep reminding yourself that consistently reinforcing good behavior is not a form of punishment but teaches your children valuable life lessons.
7. Don’t expect miracles overnight, but remember that with patience and perseverance, change will occur.