I could leave the whole blog right now with just that one word. Consistency.
"No matter what you do, be consistent." Those were the words of a therapist who told me that if I were to continue raising my daughter in the same manner I had been raising her, she would fumble through life, and I would be doing her (and me) no favors.
Many times I grounded her "for life" and then retracted the punishment the next day. I insisted that she could NOT go to the dance on Friday night, then drove her there myself because I either forgot what I said or I felt bad for telling her no in the first place.
I was the queen of "mixed messages." And my daughter learned very quickly that if she just quieted down a little, Mom would soon forget the punishment or change the punishment.
Inconsistency disrupted our lives. And I was responsible for that inconsistency. I had to learn how to be consistent in my behavior toward my daughter so that she would know what to expect from me and from herself.
I've mentioned before that discipline is not punishment. I had to change my mindset from one of punishment to one of discipline. A benefit of being consistent was that it helped me learn how to discipline not only all of my children, but myself as well.
Being consistent and keeping my promises wasn't always easy. I sometimes forgot, but I worked at becoming a successful mom. I reminded myself to follow through with discipline. And it paid off. My children learned how to respect me, themselves, AND my rules and guidelines.
Being consistent is sometimes difficult. But it's necessary, because children need to know what is expected of them.
Parents also need to teach their children how to respect boundaries. Children manipulate parents if parents allow their children to control them. What that does is teach children how to control others.
By maintaining consistency in respect to raising our children, our own lives become more manageable. In a state of consistency, we teach our children how to moderate themselves and how to respect themselves and others. When children know what to expect from life, they are relieved of numerous stressors brought about by chaotic lives.
Lives lived with inconsistency are chaotic. Consistency reassures children that what you expect from them today is what you expect from them tomorrow.
When you remain consistent in your behavior, you are, in effect, telling your children that you love them, because you care enough to discipline them.
So I leave this blog with two words: consistency and love.