BEST STARTS FOR PARENTS
Why Be Consistent?
Children are quick to spot inconsistencies in their world. For example: Inconsistency can occur between home and school. Or between parents and grand parents, or in-laws. And it can also occur between the child's two parents, especially if parents no longer live together and the relationship is non-cooperative. And if the parents find new partners there can be a number of other people to factor in as well.
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Why does inconsistency cause problems for children?
We see this between school and home as well.
A child can give an explanation as to why they don't have to do homework. If the parent takes that as the truth, without checking it out, the child has created a chink. Or they may say they got into trouble because the teacher doesn't like them.
I can recall a child making an allegation: That an experienced teacher (who had never had a complaint made against them before) had hit them with a book. Considering the teacher was on a school excursion when the alleged incident occurred, and didn't even have a book with them, it was impossible. The child eventually fessed up that she'd made it all up. But if the parent had believed the child without checking it out, it could have resulted in a vexatious allegation being made against a wonderful teacher.
It's most likely a child will make a request from the parent they think they'll have more chance of getting a 'Yes' from, first. But sometimes this parent doesn't have all the information to make a good decision and can inadvertently agree, causing a chink between the parents about what's acceptable.
But sometimes a child will get a 'No' first time round, so they'll go to the other parent hoping for a different outcome.
This can be more common when parents live apart. One parent might agree a child can go to a party, while the other might not. And if both parents don't communicate effectively and resolve issues reasonably, the child can be the one who pays.
The child learns to 'play the gap,' to get what they want. And if they get away with it, as they mature, boundaries can cease to exist.
And while that was unfair, the child may also have ended up will a negative outcome if they'd gotten away with it. It would have shown the child involved, you can say anything about anyone and get away with it. The child would have created a gap between the parent and the school. And over time their education is likely to suffer as a result because the parent is uninformed or hostile.
But if they made an allegation about a teacher, what's to stop them doing something similar to someone else, including their parents.
You could ask if there's a compromise option or another choice that might be more acceptable to you if you think what they're asking for is unreasonable.
But if your child persists and begins to try to intimidate or bully you, you may need to put natural consequences in place... like removing privileges.
Consistency Can Take Different Forms.
Consistency in child-rearing ideas, especially between parents. But ideally with extended family as well.
You're setting your child up to challenge you if you are inconsistent with one another. If mum says 'No' and dad says 'Yes' the child can play one of you against the other.
A good strategy is: If you're not sure what the other parent thinks about an issue, postpone your decision until you've discussed it. But if the child pushes either one of you for an answer say 'Sorry, if you need to know right now it'll have to be a no but if you're prepared to wait until I chat with....'
Consistency with rules and expectations, and between children.
Don't laugh at a child one day for doing something that you might frown upon another day. Acceptable behaviour for your children shouldn't be determined by your mood.
Say 'Yes' to all you feel comfortable saying yes to. Distract if necessary. Listen to and negotiate with children as they grow. But once you say 'No' it sets your child up to challenge you if you change your mind because they persist.
Think before you answer. Don't say 'No' because you're in a bad mood. Explain why it's a 'No.'
My 6-year-old son drew my attention to a mistake I made and I never forgot it.
I asked him why was he continuing to push to get his way once I'd said 'No'. I continued with, '...You know I think about things and we discuss it before I make up my mind. Have I ever changed my mind because you kept pushing it.'
He looked up at me through his eyelashes, smiled and said, 'You did once...'
Negotiation is a wonderful skill to develop in a child but challenging you and intimidating you is much less socially acceptable and it can set up a pattern of behaviour that can continue over years.
For more Best Parenting Advice on behaviour, check the links below:
Why Spend Postive Time Together?A father playing chess with his son can help create a positive relationship
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