This is a guest post from Crystal of Intentional Homemaker
Be kind. Don’t provoke your brother/sister. When they ask you not to do something, don’t do it.
Think of others not just yourself. Don’t be selfish. Share your toys.
I know that spaghetti is not your favorite meal, but we need to practice being thankful anyway.
No, you can’t have a snack. We’re going to eat dinner in just a few minutes.
Yes, you do need to pick up your toys. If you leave them lying around they will get broken. We need to take care of what we’ve been given.
These are just a few of the phrases I say over and over again every day with the children.
It frustrates me.
No matter how often I say the words, I feel like they never seem to sink in and produce results.
After one particularly challenging day I poured my heart out to my husband feeling very discouraged and at my wit’s end as a mom. And, while it wasn’t the answer I was expecting, he shared something very encouraging to me.
They need to know that the answer is consistent. That no matter how many times they ask, the answer will essentially stay the same.
Sometimes the constant questioning, asking the same thing over and over, is because they are getting it, not because they’re not getting it. They’re learning what I’m teaching, and they want to see if it’s consistent. The consistency, the search for truth, can be much of the reason behind the constant asking.
But not always, sometimes it’s something else, like whining or complaining, and those must be addressed, but I was really struck by what my husband had observed regarding consistency. It changed my perspective actually, because instead of feeling discouraged and frustrated, I’m now more encouraged because I can see that they’re learning, they’re testing out truth, they’re reasoning and making choices.
They’re building a frame of reference, which made me see my seemingly trivial answers in a whole new light.
My consistency builds trust.
My consistency shows reliability.
My consistency establishes parental authority necessary for close and healthy parent-child relationship.
Consistency in parenting is HUGE. I sometimes struggle with remembering just how important it is, because it can be so exhausting.
It’s challenging to be consistent and not give up! Consistency not only builds trust, shows reliability, and demonstrates authority, it also sets necessary boundaries, shapes perception, and shows love.
When I am not consistent in what I say, what I do, and how I respond, it frustrates my children. They don’t know what to expect. They can’t build a frame of reference, perceive situations accurately, or learn trust.
They may begin to question my authority as their mom, my love for them, and even more importantly God’s love for them.
What we say, what we do, and how we respond to a given situation is what young children build on for themselves. They need to be able to trust us, that we do what we say, that what we say is what we do, and that what we do is based on truth.
Sharing at Growing Home