10 Reasons we over-value consistency:
- It seems fair. If we have more than one child, we want to be fair to each. But unless you have twins, your kids are at different points in their development, so what is fair may depend at least on their current ability to handle the privileges you provide them. What is fair may not be the best tactic for a particular child.
- It follows the current science (philosophy) of behavior modification. Behavior modification psychology began with studies of how to train animals, and then migrated to all kinds of training regimens like breaking addictions and weight loss for humans. It sounds very scientific and has become the primary psychological basis of education and parenting.
- Consistency works with animals, and to some extent with people.
- We have had so much change thrust on us through technology, moral shifts (divorce, casual sex, mobile society), the need for consistency in kids’ lives has become extreme.
- Consistency tends to work for a while.
- Young children do need consistency to learn new patterns, so parents continue this too long.
- It allows parents to be lazy – One size fits all parenting is easier than customizing.
- If I find something that works, I don’t have to change or adapt. For example, let’s say you learn about a new chart system that will help your child do his chores. After a while, the rewards of stars on a chart lose their appeal. Do you keep going when one solution stops working?
- It allows me to rely on what I know and keeps us from going to the Holy Spirit for wisdom. Parents start to rely on the systems they create, like the chart system in the previous example. Going to God in prayer, then listening to Him or talking to the child to understand what’s going on—these take time and humility as we admit we don’t know what to do next.
- I feel guilty when I am not consistent. (when I treat one child differently from another.) The truth is, each child is unique and is created by God to respond differently, especially as they get older and their personalities emerge.
If not consistency, then what? – God Inspired Creativity (Read Deut. 11:18-20.)