It was a harsh morning one wintery day last week in Parentsville. Why does parenting feel so darned guilty so often?
This particular morning was a SNOW DAY! Oh the excitement of playing in the snow…on the proviso that my four year old daughter got her cardigan and coat on. Well the cardigan took an argument and 30 minutes then the coat was point blank refusal and melt down.
Time for snow antics before school was running out and I had to say ‘no’ to playing out in the snow, explained to my daughter why and proceeded to feel crap and guilty for the rest of the day. Plus I felt so sad missing out making snow memories with my daughter.
So why is consistency and giving your child clearly defined boundaries important?
Here are the 4 main reasons to maintain consistency:
1) Our children will stop trusting us. If our word is our bond, and we then don’t stick to our word, where is the trust? If our children cannot trust us to do what we say and say what we mean then they stop believing us and ultimately stop listening to us.
2) Our children will lack confidence. Children need boundaries, boundaries show that we are fair and we care. Boundaries are there for a reason because without them we cannot care for them properly and it builds their self-confidence to know that we have their back even if it frustrates them to not get their own way despite pushing boundaries.
3) We set our children up for failure. There will come a time when another authority figure or mentor outside of the family hands down a punishment and actually follows through. If our child is told that if they turn up for work late again they will get fired, but we have conditioned them over the years that these are empty threats, then they will likely turn up late and be fired. If excellence is demanded of them in sports and yet they don’t take it seriously, they will not reach their full potential. We build those building blocks for them every day.
4) We will lose our children’s respect. We slowly lose our authority and respect when we are inconsistent. Constantly letting our children call the shots, or failing to give them natural consequences to their actions, gives them power and control that they are not equipped to deal with and it teaches them the wrong lessons of how to get ahead in life. Being a leader in the household means being consistent and as parents we need to be strong confident leaders of our successful little household team.
Knowing this gives us the confidence as parents to do the right things for our children rather than the easy things emotionally short term, which can cause both parents and children problems long term.
After my daughter finished school that day, with our hats and coats both on we proceeded to go play in what was left of the snow, get some her favourite snacks and some hot tea in a lovely small local independant cafe. She did not mention our fall our in the morning once. My guilt dissolved in making good memories later that day.
Being a firm but fair parent and leader is definitely nothing to feel guilty about.