Parenting brings out the best in us most days. But then there are always days when you just have to give into frustration and swearing and, yes, ‘the C Word’. Don’t be scared dear parenting compadres. C-Words are your friend.
Well most of them.
My twin girls hate ‘the C word’. No, not that one. The other one – “consequences”. They’ve learnt there are consequences to their
actions. And while there are good consequences for good choices, they tend to remember the
consequences for poor choices a bit more intensely.
My wife doesn’t like the word either but hates ‘the other C word’ even more. No, not that one. The other, other one – “consistency”.
Most parents know that consistency is incredibly important with kids. Whether it be setting rules and enforcing them consistently or making sure your lessons and messages are consistent. But it’s the constant application of these two words that helps set boundaries and encourage positive behaviours.
Like most primary carers I struggle a little occasionally with my other half and her failure to be consistent. However this is not your typical rant about how the working partner often comes home and acts like the fun parent with a cavalier attitude that hurts both boundaries and your sanity. No, because I kind of get it. Working 9-5 (or 8am-9pm in my wife’s case) is stressful
and intense and carries with it a lot of pressure. Coming home to cuddles and enthusiastic smiles would lift your burden and it would be easy to give into that. Kid cuddles are like crack to the stressed. But those of us who are pretty much
on kid duty 24-7 know that we need to be consistent and, in particular, with consequences.
So how do we get the other half to buy into that? And, in some cases, keep them up to date with the fact “We no longer use THAT word” got added to the rulebook only today after an embarrassing supermarket incident? Well it’s another C word I’m afraid (still not that one): “communication”.
You need to keep your working partner (bless them) up to date on not only the boundaries but the whys. Yes, sometimes we have to teach them the same way we teach our kids. Spell out the – you guessed it – consequences.
It boils my blood when my wife gives into the girls’ demands easily therefore creating an environment where they feel they can ignore what they then see as ‘requests’. I’m convinced I will one day have to say, “Seriously girls, this is the fifth time I’ve had to tell you to exit the burning building!” But I need to show my wife why. Because if you don’t do it together (grandparents included too, though they are subject to a sugar exemption whether I like it or not) then there’s little point. You need the other, other, other, other C word: commitment.
In summary, you need to be committed to communicating your consistency over consequences. Do you C what I mean?