Fighting the Consistency Battle
Joey and Carla Link
The kids were finally in bed. Michelle looked at her husband and said, “We need to kick it in gear and get them to be responsible for the things they need to do. 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?”
Why are parents inconsistent? It could be they are just too busy to focus on training their kids, or they have extra work hours, possibly a crisis in life or the family. Perhaps there is a new addition to the family by birth or adoption, or grandparents need you to stop in daily to see to their needs. Whatever it is, you have gotten off-track where your kids are concerned.
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. Some parents begin the ardent process of self-examination to determine what the real issue is and why they are not more consistent in their parenting. They begin to make changes in their life and parenting style and in their family’s life to become a consistent parent.
Parents need to evaluate what sports, music and other activities their kids need to participate in. Young children especially do not need to go to one activity after another. Cut down on your family’s busyness. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you need to.
Parents also need to realize that if they don’t follow through on what they say they will do, their kids are keeping score and know when they don’t have to obey because you aren’t paying attention. If you aren’t going to be consistent in dealing with an issue, keep quiet about it.
One of the biggest reasons we see that parents are inconsistent in their parenting is they lack the belief or conviction of what is right and wrong and the resolve and determination to see their beliefs followed through. Remember the Old Testament character named Daniel? He was willing to be thrown into a den of hungry lions rather than violate his conscience or what he believed in just because someone else said he should, even when that someone else was his king.
There are a lot of voices telling parents how to raise their kids. How do you know which voice to listen to? We think the only voice worth listening to is the commands and principles clearly laid out for us in the Bible. God’s voice has never changed. Study the Bible and learn what is right and wrong for your kids and family. When you do this you have found your baseline and have a place to work from to train your kids. Too many couples don’t develop their convictions of what is right and wrong for their kids’ behavior so they end up saying, “I just read this” or “my friend said this worked for her.”
If you can’t come up with a consistent game plan how on earth can you expect your kids to consistently behave? Daniel was challenged in what he believed. His belief system was so strong he went to the lion’s den believing God would save him. (Daniel 6)
Do you have that kind of faith? Have you taught your kids that what the Bible says is the way we are to live, no exceptions? Once your kids have the foundation of what they believe, they need to develop their resolve and determination that nothing is more important than holding to these standards. It is one thing to believe what is right and what is wrong and teach this value system to our kids. It’s entirely another thing to put action to our beliefs. This is how one’s belief system becomes a conviction.
We would like to encourage you to take the following steps:
- Give yourself a letter grade for you and your spouse’s consistency in parenting each one of your kids.
- List your non-negotiable beliefs and standards how you expect your kids to behave.
- Grade yourselves on how well each child lives to these standards.
- From this list, evaluate why your kids don’t live to that standard.
- List what you could do to bring your kids to this standard of behavior.
- List what changes it will take in your lives to be consistent parents.
- Pray, asking God to help you resolve and determine to be a more consistent parent.