I had the chance to talk a bit about parenting today with a preschool teacher whom I very much admire. She had one word for me.
No matter what style you use, what theories you practice, children thrive on consistency, she told me. Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Take for example the idea of just this once. When we make an exception just this once, and expect children to understand that the next time they will be punished, we are the ones making the poor choice. If it’s not allowed, it’s not allowed. If it’s a rule, it’s a rule. Just this once may seem like the cool thing to do, but it simply confuses the matter in the future.
I have been doing some more reading on a few parenting theories. I have had a chance to put some of the ideas into practice and have seen some wonderful results. I also had the opportunity to drop two children off at school today who had not eaten breakfast. My children. Hungry children. Children that learned a pretty important lesson today without a lecture from me. I didn’t punish them. They made poor choices and had to live with the consequences of those choices. Better now when they are young (and have snack coming in a short time) than when they are older and the consequences would be so much greater.
I hope to follow up in the next week or so with some things that are and are not working for us. This certainly is not a manual, and I don’t pretend to be an expert. I do like to have discussions with parents who I can share my thoughts with and get feedback from.
But for now, it’s bath time for the kiddos. I need to be consistent!