Thursday, January 26, 2012

It Would Be Easier To Quit

When you are training a dog, one of the first things you learn is that you need to be consistent.  You have to give the same command over and over again and see that the command is obeyed.  When you tell the dog to sit, you make sure the dog sits, even if you have to physically sit the dog down.
It is no different with our children.  If you tell your child to sit down, make sure she obeys, even if you have to physically make her obey.  But, if you tell her to sit, and she doesn't, and you just ignore the disobedience, you are telling your child that you don't expect obedience out of her.
This can be very wearying.  Consistency is not always easy, and sometimes it is one of the more difficult concepts to get through my parent brain.  It would be so much easier for me to just ignore the slight disobedience and move on with what I am doing.  But that is doing a HUGE disservice to my child, and to me.  Children thrive in an environment where they know the rules, and when the rules are enforced with consistency.
Another thing I have noticed: when I am not consistent, the bad behavior escalates to a point of extreme frustration; both on my part and on that of my child.  If I do not address a bad behavior when it occurs, the next action is a little more blatant, and the next, until the child is out of control.  Children do not always have the ability to stop themselves, they lack self-control, which is why God gives them parents who do have self-control.
I encourage you (and myself) to do yourself and your children a favor by always being consistent in your 1) expectations of them and 2) discipline of them.  It will go a long way in helping your (my) kids become responsible adults one day.
On the window sill above my sink is my little piece of happiness and a reminder to be patient and consistent.