Consistency is a Virtue that Pays Rich Dividends

By: Dr. Noel Swanson...

If there is one thing that most parents have issues with regarding child discipline, it is being consistent. It is one of the more difficult child discipline aspects of parenting. If you, as a parent, can get over the initial hurdles to being consistent, there are a number of benefits waiting for you.

Children are free spirits; they hate to be caged in boundaries of rules and regulations. However, as responsible members of society they need to learn the elementary code of behavior. And, itís the duty of parents to reinforce good behavior on a daily basis until it becomes a part of the childís character. It is a daunting task! After all, characters are not built in a day! So, be prepared to put in your best effort to achieve this goal.

Itís always best to start and maintain consistency as early as possible. Most parents wait for children to grow a little older to start establishing rules; they wait too long. Itís better to start when they are young because the younger they are the faster they learn, and for older children it is a longer process since they have to unlearn a certain behavior pattern to adopt a new one. Here are a few tips to maintain consistency:

1. Parents need to come to a consensus on acceptable behavior. You should sit down and communicate and plan a course of action for establishing child discipline. Take a look at areas where consistency is lacking and develop a plan for establishing consistency.

2. Don\'t quit half way. The worse thing you can do as a parent when attempting to establish consistency in child discipline is to stop half way. You will have to start over from the beginning just like with any habit-breaking tactic.

3. Though it is good to have a plan, you should also be flexible because you are dealing with children that are alive and vibrant, so, don't be afraid to adapt it as necessary. Dogged insistence is not consistency. If you need to change a part of your consistency establishment and maintenance plan, you must change it. Don't stay with something that is not even working.

4. Always try and support each other even if you have differences at times. You can iron out these differences through communication, but not in the presence of your children otherwise they will get confused messages. It is a good idea to have a support system. This can be a close friend, family member or professional who can provide objective parenting tips and view point.

5. Ask for parenting help, if you need it. No one knows everything about parenting. There isn\'t a manual or how to guide. If you get stuck, ask around or do research.

You can establish a routine of child discipline that works for everyone by communicating, persevering, supporting and being willing to ask questions. Remember, being consistent with child discipline isn't easy, but it is rewarding.

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For additional information on child behavioral problem and parenting advice visit Dr. Noel Swanson frequently writes for Yes Parenting website and also has a free newsletter with heaps of expert parenting advice.

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