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Consistency In Parenting Is Key

Sep 5, 2007
As a parent, consistency is key to raising children. If you are continually changing your standards or your expectations, your child will become confused and uncertain of what he or she is and is not supposed to be doing.

Take discipline, for example. In order to help your child understand that doing something is considered off limits, you need to consistently reprimand that behavior. At the same time, you must reward the desirable behavior.

Dealing with temper tantrums is an excellent example of this philosophy. If your child throws a temper tantrum every time you go to the store and will not stop until you purchase a candy bar from the check out line, your children has learned that temper tantrums get him what he wants. In order to reverse this behavior, you must first be strong and refuse to buy that candy - no matter how much of a fit your child throws. Sooner or later, your child will learn that temper tantrums are not the way to get what he wants.

At the same time, you need to reward positive behaviors and be sure to tell your child what she is doing that has pleased you. For example, if you tell your child no to the candy bar purchase and she accepts it without throwing a tantrum, you should say, You know what, Sally? It makes me happy that you did not cry and scream when I said no to the candy bar. To show you how happy it makes me, I am going to go ahead and give you that candy bar. Now, your child has learned that good behavior reaps rewards.

This same concept can be utilized in every area of your child's life. While it is important to discipline children when they do something wrong, it is even more important that you recognize the things your child is doing right. Be sure to clearly communicate this to your child, as telling your child what he is doing right is more productive then telling him what he has done wrong. After all, simply knowing what was done wrong does nothing to help your child understand what should be done instead.

When implementing these strategies, you need to be consistent or your hard work will be undone. If you manage to stay strong at the store when your child throws those temper tantrums but finally cave after the fourth or fifth time, your child will learn that tantrums really do work as long as she is willing to continue with it for as long as it takes. If this happens, you will have to start from ground zero in the process of reshaping this undesirable behavior.
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