Consistency is Key with Children
Constantly Testing the Boundaries
I have been a mom for 9 years now, and I realized from the beginning children try to test their limits. The baby cries, you pick them up. Yes, a baby will cry because it is hungry, needs changed, or a list of many other reasons. You have to decipher what that reason is, and it isn't always easy. I noticed with both of my sons that there would come a time where they would cry every time I put them down, and what did I do? Pick them back up, and most days I wouldn't get much done around the house because of this. By the time my youngest came around I was on to this behavior, and decided to not pick him up every time he cried. Of course next is toddler mode, constantly getting in to things, and discovering the world piece by piece. Well, once again they learned if we look at mom with our arms reaching up, she will pick me up, and carry me wherever I want to go. Another one of my favorites is throwing something and making mom or dad get it over and over again. Finally you say okay, I'm not going to make a career out of picking this toy up, and they stop throwing it. Fast forward to the school years, and here we are today. My oldest son is once again testing limits. I worked last year, and the boys went to after school program, and got help with homework until I got there. The oldest got in trouble quite a few times for not finishing his homework, or just not turning it in. I realized I was a lot less tuned in to their school work, and needs concerning school work. My younger son is very competitive, and is a faster learner so he breezes through homework, and complains it isn't challenging enough for him. (We have major learning differences in our home) This school year, I started off believing the oldest was doing better, I trusted him when he told me he was finishing work in class and turning it in before he left for the day. Once again, not true. A month in to the school year, and we've already been to the school for a meeting on keeping him on track. Well, that was enough, I have had enough of this being buffaloed by a 4th grader. We sit down every night, I check the teacher's blog, I check to see the accuracy of what he has written in his assignment notebook, and we unload the book bag and begin working on homework. Last night he was up to his old tricks, "I finished my work at school." Oh really, so if I email your teacher she'll tell me the same? "Well, someone else packed my book bag because I was doing something else, and they forgot to put it in there." Really? Well, that's interesting." (I am giving him a look of disbelief the whole time. "Okay fine, I forgot it at school. The work is so hard I don't understand it." That's why I sit down with you EVERY night, and I help you. Okay guys, get in the car. "Why mommy?" Because we are going to the school, and getting your work. The look on his face was priceless. I had told him I would do it, and I did. Consistency, I believe if he realizes I mean business we will stop having all of these issues. As a parent you want to believe your child, but that trust is earned. So if there is anyone else out there like me that was buffaloed by their child, just remember it's not to late to change their behavior, you just need to stay true to your work, and be consistent.
Staying Consistent with the Other Parent
I don't care if you are married, divorced, or remarried. If you put children in the mix they will try even harder to break the rules. I'm divorced, and remarried as you know. This seems to be the most challenging scenario for most parents. I mean, come on if a family with happy, married mom and dad has consistency problems, imagine what life can be like when another parent or 2 (if the ex also gets remarried) is added in to the mix. Luckily for me, my husband and I agree to be equally consistent with the boys. The ex husband, (who rarely finds the time to see his sons, and I'm talking once or twice a year) wants to just try to talk the kids in to playing against my husband and I. It takes a week to get the boys back on track after spending a day with that man. Seriously though, I'm sure most parents can relate. The kids go to grandma and grandpa on mom's side there's one set of rules, they go to g'ma and g'pa's on dad's side another set of rules, every person they come in to contact has different styles of parenting. I haven't figured out how to get grandparents to listen to how things are handled in our house, and suggesting they do the same. They always nod and agree, but nope the kids come home and tell us of the wonderful adventures they've had. Some things leaving my jaw at the floor, but I guess all we can do is to do what we can. Have any of you figured out how to keep all parties consistent with the disciplining, and rules to follow?