When it comes to parenting, Secret #8 – Be Consistent, is one of the most important. Whether you realize it or not, the simple strategy of being consistent fills multiple needs for your child’s development. There are some things that EVERY child should get consistently no matter what. Every child should know that he/she is loved unconditionally every second of every day. As a parent, there is NOTHING more important than that. Being loved is the most secure feeling that anyone – child or adult – can have. That being a given, let’s explore some more benefits of being consistent with your kids.
As I cover in my book, the number one psychological need for any human being is the feeling of Certainty. Certainty is what allows us to feel secure in our own knowledge and our lives. There are things we know will have a predictable outcome like the lights coming on when we flip the light switch or the car speeding up when pressing the gas pedal and stopping when pressing the brake. These are truths that we adults have learned over our many years of life experience. Think back to the last time flipped the light switch while walking into a room and the lights did NOT go on. Didn’t you stop in your tracks? Momentarily, your world was shaken as you searched for answer to the first question that popped into your head…What the _____?
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Now you have to remember, kids do not have the benefit of our life history. They are experiencing many things for the first time. That’s why they ask so many “why” questions. Why does this happen? Why did that happen? Why is the sky blue? You know what I’m talking about. The reason they ask so many questions is that they are looking for information to fill in the gaps in their perception and experience. They have no references to look back at as to “why” something happened. They have no other option than to go their most trusted source – you!
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If you want your kids to be empowered, it is vital to their development that YOU have a strong empowering identity. And equally as important that you consistently maintain high standards for yourself and your children. It provides them the certainty they need. Then, they can just do what kids naturally do best – learn and grow. Consistency is what keeps everything going; it’s what forms the patterns that enable their identity to become bigger, stronger, and more powerful.
A key to remember is that Consistency is a double-edged sword. It’s just as easy to become consistent with behavior that supports bad habits as it is with behavior that is positive. I’ll use myself as an example. When I was younger I was a world class athlete. After an injury derailed my chances at professional career and I grew into adulthood, it became easy to get out of the routine of working out, going to the gym, and staying peak physical condition. Those bad habits were a consistent behavior. Seemingly overnight, I’d notice my pants getting too tight, I’d remind myself that changing my behavior would help me stay in shape. It gave me an opportunity to readjust and reinforce consistent positive behavior patterns.