One of the most dangerous things we do as parents is fail to be consistent with our kids. I'm not just talking about discipline here, although that is important too.  Some day, I will write about discipline but for today we'll just look at the consistent aspect of life.

I am always amazed that parents discipline their kids for disagreeing with them. I do not understand the logic. I do not understand disciplining someone, who obeys but verbally disagrees or expresses their displeasure. By the way, if you are a Christian who claims to follow the Bible you would seem to have a problem because in the Bible Jesus tells us that the son who disagreed but actually did what the father wanted was the one who obeyed. Part of being consistent with our children is teaching them to question things and yet do the right thing. When we punish them for disagreeing we are sending an inconsistent message.

Inconsistent messages tear at the fabric of any connection we have with our children.

I think the biggest area where we lack consistency with our children is simply doing what we say we are going to do. If I tell my children that I am going to read a book to them tonight. I had better make sure that I do it. Consistency builds your children's trust in you. Trust is the bedrock of healthy relationships. One of the biggest mistakes parents make is telling their kids that they are going to do something and then not doing it. Oh and excuses like:

    Life happens, I wanted to but something came up, I had to work, This was important, ________

do not cut it.


Sometimes things do happen, but these times should be rare and few. Here's the simplest test to ask yourself. If you tell your children that you are going to do something, are they more surprised if you come through and do it or if you don't do it.  Hopefully, they are more surprised when you cannot keep your word.

If our children are more surprised when we don't do something with them that we said we would, we need to make changes. We either need to change what we are promising. In other words, don't promise something that you can't deliver on.  If that isn't what we need to change, then we need to change our commitment to keeping our words.

If we can't keep our word with our children, we are teaching them a number of things. Two of the most disturbing things that we are teaching them is that it is OK to break your word. Worse, we are teaching them that they are not as important as they should be in our lives and that's just the way it is. They'll need to deal with it. 

We probably don't mean either one of those but that is exactly what we are saying and teaching. If you want to live wild and dangerous, ask your children how well they feel that you keep your promises to them. Ask them if they feel you spend enough time with them. Ask them if the believe you when you tell them that you are going to do something.

Listen to their answers and if you need to make changes, do it. Your family is worth it.

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