So over the past three days, I’ve posted a few principles I use (live by, actually) which has made the raising of my kids a little easier for me.
Tip #1, rewards first. #2 stuff has value. #3 make expectations clear.
And now, tip #4. Consistency is key.
It’s kind of a no-brainer, really. If you want kids who don’t whinge at the drop of a hat, be as fair as possible. And the only way to be fair is to be consistent. For as long as you can.
Me? I hate whinging! Especially the whole “it’s not fair!” one. As a middle child, the girl between two brothers, I feel like I know all about unfairness. And I decided that I would always have an even number of children to kind of combat some of that ‘lack of attention’ that is inevitable in a three child family… but unfortunately, life didn’t happen like that.
Luckily, when I was pregnant with my eldest, a work colleague told me how, when she was pregnant, she sat down and wrote out a list of rights and responsibilities; goalposts that she felt were important ones, so that these would be unchanging; constants in a changing world. Simple stuff, like bed times for various ages, to when they’d be allowed a mobile phone, or what age they could pierce their ears, and so on and so on. I thought it was a good idea, so I did the same.
My kids all know about it. They call it ‘the list’ and they’ve helped add to it, from time to time. We’ve been able to negotiate things which have been important to them, such as “when I’m six years old, I can go into the chicken pen by myself”, “when I’m ten years old, I’m allowed to use a steak knife like a grown up”, things like what age they can clean their own ears / cut their own toenails, all of these go onto ‘the list’ and we all get kept accountable by it. It’s a good system; it helps to maintain consistency. And because they ‘big stuff’ was parent-determined, and the ‘smaller but important stuff’ that they’ve thought of, has all been negotiated as its come up, the kids have a sense of ownership over the decisions as well – and they’re more likely to stick to the decisions! Fine with me!!! ( I’ll have to tell you a story related to ‘the list’, but it’ll make this post too long, so another time. But soon! I promise!)
Anyway, Hubby and I have found that keeping it consistent, as much as possible, helps maintain a calm household. And that makes everybody happy.
Tomorrow: the fifth and final tip. Remembering that disclaimer at the start of the week too: these are MY tips; they work for me. If they work for you too, fantastic. If not, find other tips that do, because raising well-behaved kids is so TOTALLY worth it. I love my kids to bits!
Here’s wishing you a lovely day, dear reader!