Here is the million dollar question, “Why is consistency important for our kids?”
The short answer…
Consistent parenting creates an environment of stability where our kids can thrive in an emotionally healthy way.
A Simple Story
Let’s pretend for a moment that you just got a new boss at work. Upon first meeting your new boss you draw the conclusion that they are a nice person. After the first week working with your new boss you think to yourself, “wow, I was right, they really are nice and, in fact, very encouraging.”
Life continues this way for a month. You are happy with your new boss and they seem to be happy with you. Then, things change.
The job you had been doing well and, in your mind, continue to do well is no longer acceptable. In fact, you get written up and yelled at for doing the same things you have been doing well for the last five years. You think to yourself, “Maybe my new boss is just having a bad week.”
Then, in an all staff meeting, you are singled out in front of everyone. Singled out for your great performance! Yes, the same performance you were berated for the previous week. Your mind starts to spin and you begin to feel off balance even anxious at work. You begin to question yourself, “Am I doing a good job or not?”
This type of unpredictable and inconsistent behavior from your boss continues. You begin to resent work, you are frustrated and anxious and your daily stress level rises to an all time high. You are exhausted and you realize there is nothing you can do to please your boss or “get it right” so you quit trying. In fact, you just want to give up and quit.
Now, Let Me Ask You A Few Questions
1. How do you feel about your boss?
2. Has your anxiety in the office increased or decreased?
3. How do you feel about going into the office each day?
4. When you see your boss, what do you feel inside?
5. How important is it to have a boss who is consistent with their behavior?
Having a boss who is consistent in their behavior, as it turns out, is not only nice to have but healthy to have as well! You have less anxiety, less frustration and you know where the boundaries are and what is expected of you. Ultimately, having a boss who is consistent in their behavior allows you the freedom to fulfill your role and responsibility in a healthy and successful way.
Parental Consistency And Our Kids
If we take the above story and apply it to family we can see some similarities. When we are consistent in our emotions and behavior it reduces our kids anxiety and frustration. When our kids know where the boundaries are and what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior they have a foundation from which to grow.
Our children know when boundaries are set and then broken there are consequences. If we set a boundary and don’t enforce it when broken our kids get off balance. If we set a boundary and enforce it only half of the time and let it go the other half of the time we begin to create an emotionally unpredictable environment for our kids and that effects their behavior.
Just like a boss who is inconsistent in their behavior would create a high level of anxiety in their employees an inconsistent parent will create a sense of anxiety in their children.
If we lack consistency in our parenting our children don’t don’t know what to expect and eventually our kids get the message that we often don’t mean what we say and what we say starts to loose it’s meaning. Inconsistent parenting creates an environment that encourages inconsistent behavior in our kids.
Our kids need consistency, routine and predictability as they grow. When we provide our children with consistent parenting it creates an emotionally healthy environment for our children. An environment they need in to grow in a healthy way.
Photo Credit: shutterstock.com Image ID: 94592554 Copyright: Andresr