Monday, September 9, 2013


It is incredibly difficult to be a consistent parent.  The dictionary meaning of consistent means ‘holding together and retaining form’. That hardly describes my early memories of child rearing.  I suspect I am not the only one.

What are we aiming for?

a) To make objective responses with our discipline where both parents agree.
b) To be fair and firm.
c) To equally love and discipline our kids without any favoritism.
c) To stand together as parents when kids try to play one off against the other.
d) To be balanced, loving, and encouraging, but at the same time issue corrective measures and
     consequences where necessary.

How do we get there?
  • As parents, discuss what your disciplinary ideals and responses will be.  
  • Don't become the 'weakest link' or the 'tyrant' to compensate for parental imbalance.
  • Tell your kids what your expectations are in given circumstances.
  • Allow your kids to make a few initial mistakes until they get it right.  
  • Give them a safe place to land.
  • Give your kids time and attention.  
  • Let them talk about their aspirations and worries.
In the event:
  • Recognize your own emotional state before you respond.  If necessary, count to 20 to calm down.
  • Get the facts before making judgements.
  • Remember the agreed responses.  
  • Don't respond one time and ignore it the next.  If you do, kids never know where they are or how to act.
Many times we allow ourselves to act in a subjective manner.  When we are tired, we can’t deal with it so we overlook the negative behavior.   When we are stressed, anything can happen.  We may issue discipline that is far too severe for the infringement, or say things that we later regret.   We may excuse negative behavior because of a child’s disability, illness or age.  This is not appropriate.  All kids need to learn to live within boundaries.

Subjective disciplinary action is negated when the consequences are already laid down.  Parents will not be choosing discipline measures on the fly.  Kids will be making the choice to be obedient or to be disciplined.

Objective parenting provides a solid foundation for harmony in the home.

Written by Sally Burgess

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