Parents are gifted with the most important responsibility in the world. They are responsible for the health, safety, and guidance of their children. This requires a certain level of maturity, even for the parent. In essence, becoming a parent is a growing process for the adult as well as the child. However, one of the most important principles that any parent must learn is the need to be consistent.
Say What You Mean and Mean What You Say
Many parents discipline their children with idle threats. They tell their children that they will lose a certain privilege if they don't do something that they are supposed to do, or if they do something they have been told not to do. However, the follow through is not there. The child may repeat the bad behavior with no real consequence as a result. This sends a message to the child. It's a nonverbal assertion that the most the child will suffer is a good chastising, but no real privilege will be lost as a result of doing the wrong thing.
Make The Standard Clear Ahead of Time
Children need to know what's expected of them on a consistent basis. This is why it's a good idea for any parent to communicate the expectations well before a child finds himself or herself in trouble. Consistent communication of expectations creates an opportunity for the child to do the right thing. If you tell your children to leave the toughbook docking stations alone and they don't listen, you can easily remind them that you'd set the expectation in advance and that they'd failed to follow through with the right behavior.
Follow Through with Consequences
If you state that there will be a consequence for a wrong action or bad behavior, follow through if the child continues with the behavior after being warned. This communicates to the child that you are serious and intent on following through with everything you said you would do if a rule was broken. This teaches respect for rules and shows your children that you are committed to being consistent when it comes to your expectations of them.
Consistent parenting has many positive benefits. It teaches children the concept of respect and introduces them to the reality that consequences exist for wrong behaviors. These teachings follow children into adulthood and teach them the power and the value of making sound decisions and following rules.