Jaclyn Amato December 6, 2023 Consistency is key. As a parent, if you have heard that once, you’ve heard it 1000 times. But, the question remains, consistent at what? The embarrassing truth is that for a long time the only things we were consistent at were threatening and repeating our threats, trying to avoid meltdowns at all costs, and blowing up when we couldn’t take it any longer. It was when we were deep in this pattern of negative consistency, that we finally found the parenting class Growing Kids Gods Way. It was there, through weeks of class and support from our amazing leaders (The Links), that we were able to retrain ourselves and our children. We learned to be consistent in a way that has led everyone in our family closer to God and each other. And we are so grateful! 1. We learned the power of being consistent in communicating, clear, simple, God-honoring expectations. Not expectations based on our changing whims and feelings. We learned to communicate those expectations to our children in times of non-conflict and during pre-activity conversations, instead of in the heat of the moment, when no one was really able to listen. We learned to present the moral reason why in a simple, concise way, so that our children understood that this wasn’t just mommy and daddy’s desire, but a calling to follow God through each specific circumstance. At first, the idea of thinking through and presenting all of this to three kids at different levels of understanding, seemed like a daunting task. 2. We learned to start small with introducing the expectation that our kids verbally respond and come to us immediately each time we called their name. Learning this seemingly small act of first-time obedience is where the real change began. Teaching our children to consistently respond to us in this way helped create an atmosphere of respect, where they were much more receptive to receiving and following instructions. It truly set the stage for us to see obedience from our children in so many areas. What a change! 3. We also learned to be consistent with our consequences. We learned that for discipline to really get to the heart of a child and effect lasting change, consequences must be directly connected to what the child did wrong. We were taught to calmly lay out the consequence that would result from a specific behavior, long before the child was acting out. Then, they understood exactly what consequence they were choosing, if they decided to disobey. Slowly, it became easier and easier to calmly follow through with consequences that they had freely chosen, without losing our cool in the process. We learned how to complete the teaching opportunity that results from giving a consequence by leading our children to express what they did wrong, why it was wrong, how they could change their behavior next time, and how they could make things right with anyone they had hurt in the process. I will never forget the day that my “wild” 5-year-old calmly came to me after he misbehaved, took ownership for what he did wrong, and willingly accepted the consequences I had previously explained would occur. I was in shock and so grateful to see such growth through following the steps laid out in Growing Kids. 4. The fourth area that we learned to be consistent in is our parenting communication as a couple. Sure, we were always talking to each other, but were we strategically planning our parenting together? Not until Growing Kids taught us how. The challenge of parenting is constantly changing. We have learned to prioritize getting on the same page about new behaviors we are seeing in our children and planning how to handle them. We sometimes have to seek out and wrestle with the moral reason why and make sure we can both clearly and simply communicate it. We have to decide when and how we are going to lay out new expectations and consequences and be sure we are both ready to follow through with them every time. We also talk through any upcoming changes to our routine and make sure we are united in the expectations we have for each child. Honestly, at first these conversations felt super forced and awkward, but now, we often have them without even realizing it. Over time, they have become a natural part of our regular communication. Consistency is an ongoing battle and it always will be. But, because of Growing Kids God’s Way under the leadership of Joey and Carla, we now have the tools we need to be consistent in ways that bring lasting, God-honoring change in our children and ourselves. We are able to quickly see when we are off course and to be unified in our efforts to get everything back on track. I’m so grateful for the resources that GrowingFamilies.Life and Parenting Made Practical have provided for our family. We feel truly blessed. Are you looking to bring consistency back into your home? If so, try the Mom’s Notes session, “Fighting the Consistency Battle” which talks about 10 reasons why we are inconsistent and 8 thing consistent parents do. You can get it at parentingmadepractical.com.