Consistency is essential in so many aspects of life. Consider the food industry. When you buy a product in the grocery store, you are looking for consistency, not something that is fantastic one time and terrible the next. Whether it is manufacturing or athletes preparing for the next game, consistency is essential for success. Then we should not be surprised that for successful parenting, consistency is absolutely essential.
Consistency needs to start when children are infants with following routines. Routines and schedules are the best friends of parents because children love a routine once it is part of their life. Often parents will implement routines when children are infants. However, during the toddler stage, it is as if many parents get thrown off their routines because their little child is voicing an opinion. It might be saying no to going to bed or ignoring the commands of the parents. Often a little toddler will insist on getting the attention and constantly interrupt the parent when he or she is trying to talk to another person. In all of these situations and a hundred others, consistency is needed. Just because you are a working parent, don’t let the guilt factor kick in. If it is necessary for both parents to work, then don’t compensate for your guilt of working by giving in to your child. Your giving in only creates an entitlement attitude that will only get worse as they get older. The single parent also often feels they can’t implement rules or discipline because they are at a disadvantage. These are all fallacies of permissive parenting, and they only hurt the child.
The responsive parent has to stop what they are doing and follow the routine regardless of the child’s protest. It’s better to pick the child up and leave the room if you are with other people. If you do this consistently, you will win. If, however, you do it sometimes and other times you don’t, you have lost the battle.
Name any area of the child’s development—learning to eat properly, developing different tastes, potty training, learning to pick up toys or take care of them, learning to respect other people, and learning to share. Consistency is the key. Follow the same routine, and if you hit a snag, don’t give in or give up. With every goal you meet, your child will be better prepared for future steps of development. Most importantly, you will be a responsive parent instead of fighting the reactive battle over all these little issues. Sometimes it seems like it’s harder to fight the battle and win with your child, but in reality, this is the easiest way. The permissive parenting style beguiles parents to believe that way is easier, when in fact it’s impossible.