Why is it so hard for parents to be consistent when
disciplining children?

Many factors come into play. How tired are you?! How persistent is your child? How were you disciplined? What kind of parenting style do you have? Does the other parent agree with you on discipline methods and follow-through? You hate being the “heavy”…

One secret that can be highly effective in overcoming these obstacles that comes from the “Yell Less. Hug More” parenting class is to develop Family Rules and Consequences. If there’s just one thing you do to improve your discipline practices, I would recommend this! Follow these step-by-step directions.

How To Develop Family Rules and Consequences

Step #1- Have a meeting with your spouse/partner/other parent. The two of you should sit down and talk about the rules that are most important to you. I recommend no more than 4-5 house rules.

Step #2- Brainstorm ideas for consequences that are appropriate for the “crime.”

Step #3- Sit down with your family (even kids as young as 3 can participate) at a calm, quiet time and ask them their opinion. A question like this can get the ball rolling. “What rules do you think are important to have in our family so that no one’s body or feelings get hurt?”

Step # 4- Write down the rules that everyone suggests. Make sure that the rules that you identified in Step #1 are included on the list. Use the words that your children are providing so the rules are kid-friendly.

Step #5- Refine the rules so they are clear and specific. Ie. “Be respectful” is vague. “No name calling” is clear.

Step #6- Next, you want to get everyone’s input on appropriate consequences for breaking a rule.

Step #7- Finalize the rules and consequences if they are close to the rules that both parents agrees upon in #1. If not, the parents should meet privately to hash out the differences.

Step #8- Write the rules down, meet again as a family, review the rules, have everyone sign them which means they agree to abide by the family rules and post them in a prominent place.

How can this process help you to be a better parent and be more consistent?

• As parents you’ve taken the time to discuss what rules are most important to you (which many of us never sit down to do!).
• You’ve reached a consensus within the family about what rules are most important to you.
• The rules are crystal clear.
• It takes the mystery out of what will happen when a rule is broken.
• You and the other parent will enforce the same consequence for the same offense building in consistency.
• When you’re tired, you can simply look at the chart to remember the consequence.
• The consequence is more likely to be a logical one if you’ve provided forethought on the behavior.

Author's Bio: 

Byline: Toni Schutta, Parent Coach, M.A., L.P. Visit www.getparentinghelpnow.com to receive the free e-course “The 7 Worst Mistakes Parents Make (and How to Avoid Them!) and to receive details about the “Yell Less. Hug More.” Class