Consistency vs Rigidity in the parenting world…

“The goal, in other-words, is to maintain a consistent but flexible approach with your kids, so that they know what to expect from you but also know that at times you will thoughtfully consider all the factors involved…We want to intentionally respond to a situation in a way that considers what’s best for our child and our family, even if it means making an exception to our normal rules and expectations.”

“One of the reasons why parents become rigid with their children is they are practicing fear based parenting. They worry that if they ever give in and allow a soft drink at one meal, they’ll create a slippery slope and their kids will be drinking Mountain Dew for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the rest of their lives. So they stick to their guns and deny the soft drink. Or their six-year-old has a nightmare and wants to climb into bed with them because he’s scared, but they worry that they will be setting a dangerous precedent.”

“In other words, there’s a lot about morality that we want to teach our kids in addition to knowing right from wrong. We don’t want to be their traffic cop, following them around and telling them when to stop and when to go, and giving them tickets when they break the law. Wouldn’t it be better to teach them how to drive responsibly, and to give them the skills, tools and practice that they need to make good decisions on their own? To do this successfully, sometimes we need to be open to seeing the gray areas, not just the black and white. We need to make decisions based not on an arbitrary rule we’ve previously set down, but on what’s best for our kids and for our family right now, in this particular situation. Consistent, yes, but not rigid.”

Such amazing insights into consistency vs rigidity! I admit that I find myself in the role of a rigid parent sometimes but that happens primarily because I worry that even if I am slightly flexible (especially with my kids’ morning and evening routines because there are time constraints on both ends), my kids will take advantage of that flexibility and will not cooperate with me when I need them to. But, I am learning from my own experience that while that might happen some times, in the long run, when I am flexible in considering their wishes and desires on a situation by situation basis without being a stickler to the rules, they are more likely to consistently and willingly cooperate with me because they feel heard and respected.

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