Author: Rebecca Verduci
For a first time parent, knowing how to raise a child can be daunting. A mother is monitored during pregnancy, attends ante-natal classes, is guided through hospital appointments and then supported during labour. But what happens once the baby comes? See you later and have a nice life.
Fortunately there are many parenting experts prepared to offer their advice in copious manuals of
“how to raise your child”, “how to get your baby to sleep” “How to discipline your child” “How to manage the hormonal years ”etc etc . There is nothing wrong with these guides, in fact, as a first time mother myself, I didn’t have many examples around me of what I should or shouldn’t be doing.
I am now a strong believer after years of practise, that a mother almost always knows best and instinct will guide you.
In order to save you the confusion of conflicting information and hours of reading, it can all be summarised into one word. This one word is agreed upon by almost every author who ever penned a “how to” book. “CONSISTENCY”
Whether you’re awaiting a baby to roll over for the first time, eat his veggies, learn to walk, learn to write, learn the alphabet, ride a bike, stop drawing on the walls or learning to use the toilet, all these practices require, CONSISTENCY!
It can become very confusing for anyone when a message is changed every time it is delivered. If we expect a certain result, the direction should always be in the same manner. As an example, if I want my 8 yo son to shower every night, this is the repetitive dialogue I follow every single night in the attempt that one day, the shower will be preemptive and no direction required:
Lucas, it is your shower time.
But mum, I had one yesterday!
Well, that was yesterday, and today is a new day.
But mum, let me just finish my game.
No Lucas, you can finish your game after your shower, just as I said last night, and just as I will say tomorrow night, time for shower now, and don’t forget to wash all your bits and put your clothes in the laundry.
Not quite a success yet, but a work in progress! My oldest now MOSTLY showers without my direction and places his clothes in the vicinity of the laundry. (hahahaha, we’re getting there)
The message should be unambiguous, direct and consistent. This spreads across all adults in the household. It makes it a challenge when another adult lets it slide. A child will see this opportunity and grasp it with all his might and test the boundaries when it next presents. If a shower can be missed one night because “Dad ”said it was ok, when mum said jump in the shower, then why not tomorrow night and the next night after that?
Parenthood needs to be built on a strong foundation of CONSISTENCY. Let’s not confuse the offspring but allow them the opportunity to succeed at little milestones along the way.
The same principals can be applied to most things in life. A tree or vegetable garden requires consistent watering in order to flourish, while a pet may need consistent discipline in order for it to pee outside. Weight loss requires consistent good eating habits, and exercising, should be consistent in order to reap the benefits. Don’t confuse your fruit tree, pet or body. Live a purposeful life with CONSISTENCY and reap the rewards of well- adjusted children.