Using Consistency to be a Calmer Parent
Parenting is not an easy task. It may be tough to reinforce rules that your children will actually follow, or to get your kids from one activity to the next. You might be wondering, how can I make changes in the household that my family will live by? Instead of struggling to enforce the routine, try using consistency.
Consistency is an important parenting skill—it helps create a predictable, safe environment with clear structure. Children and teenagers do best in an environment that is flexible and adaptable, yet also has clear rules and boundaries. Consistency helps parents set and reinforce rules and boundaries. Whereas inconsistency prevents rules from actually sticking and decreases the chances that children will follow them.
If you’re looking to add structure to your family’s routine, practice the CARES skill to create consistency.
C: Commitment. The first step towards creating consistent rules and routines is setting your goals and committing to them. It is important for everyone to be on the same page. Sit down, think about, and write out your goals so you know what you want to work towards. Review and remind yourself of this commitment when you encounter struggles or difficulties along the way.
A: Accountable. To hold yourself accountable to the goals that you’ve set, set up a support system. This could be your friend, your partner, or someone else who you trust. Report your plans and progress to your support system on a routine basis. This helps increase motivation for following through. Also consider implementing rewards for yourself, or consequences when you don’t follow through with your goals.
R: Reminders and Routine. The key to any long-lasting change is PRACTICE! Set reminders about your new routine. You can write yourself a reminder note or set one on your phone. Try to incorporate change into your existing routine so you are naturally reminded throughout the day.
E: Encouragement. Remind yourself that change is difficult, and take time to give yourself credit! Ask your support network for positive and encouraging words, or write cheerleading notes where you will see them. A little bit of encouragement can go a long way!
S: Small steps. It’s a marathon, not a sprint! Start small, or break larger goals into smaller steps. Creating lasting change takes time, and it will happen slowly. Remind yourself of this and focus on how far you have come, rather than how much farther you need to go.
Consistency is key when it comes to parenting. Children and teenagers respond best to clear guidelines, flexible environments, and consistent responses. Creating consistency takes time; it’s a long-term process with its ups and downs. However if you set your mind to it, establish goals, and remind yourself to keep it up, you can succeed and make changes in your family’s lives.