Why is Being Consistent with Your Kids So Hard?

By Joey and Carla Link
January 19, 2022

The kids were finally in bed. Michelle looked at her husband and said, “We need to kick the kids in gear. I am tired of chasing them around all day trying to find their schoolwork and get them to do their chores. They were doing good a couple months ago. How did it get like this again?” 

Do you ever feel this way? I (Carla) remember telling Joey something similar about our kids, saying “We need to go back to getting first-time obedience from the kids.” Joey’s reply? He asked me why and how we kept losing it. That conversation changed the way we parented.

You know you have not been consistent when it comes to dealing with your kids’ misbehaviors. What are you going to do about it now? Often, parents begin to work with their kids but when they don’t know how to handle difficult behavioral issues they often give up until they get frustrated with their kids then they kick it in gear once again. Does this sound like you? Don’t lose heart! 

There are lots of reasons parents aren’t consistent in dealing with their kids. When we mention consistency, we are talking about more than giving them consequences when they do something wrong. We are also talking about being consistent when it comes to teaching them moral values like using self-control and to be responsible. Dealing with your kids is both pro-active and reactive.

  • Let’s say you have been working with your 7 yr. old to use self-control on his own initiative. You have worked with him pro-actively by explaining what self-control is.
  • Ask him what he can do when his toddler brother grabs the toy he is playing with other than hit him and take it back.
  • Ask him if he thinks he can remember to do this the next time his brother takes his toy.
  • That is enough explaining for a 7 yr. old for one day.
  • Do remember to praise him when he does what you agreed upon would be a good thing to do. If he hits him again, take him aside and ask him what he could do instead and when he tells you, ask him why he didn’t do it.
  • Don’t take “I don’t know” for an answer.
  • If he hits him again (a 3rd time), he needs a consequence.

Explain what the moral value you are working on is and why we all need to use it. Ask your child how he/she can put it into practiceEncourage him/her when they do. Remind them one time when they don’t. Give them a consequence if they do it again. 

Now I know doing this all day long times more than one child gets complicated, tedious and takes all your time. What else should be taking your time when you are in the season of parenting? This is also why we strongly encourage you to only work on one thing at a time. You can’t possibly teach your child to obey you, be patient, be kind and be responsible all at once and have any hope of being consistent at any of them.

Where do you start? Always start with obedience training. If you aren’t sure what that is, we encourage you to get the Mom’s Notes presentation “Understanding First-Time Obedience”. There is a Mom’s Notes presentation titled “Fighting the Consistency Battle” you might find helpful too. 

“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it.”Proverbs 22:6