Is It Possible to Be Consistent in Parenting?
Do you know what’s hard about being consistent with your kids? Being consistent.
We know that “being consistent” in parenting is the ideal. But doing the right thing every. single.time?
How is that even possible?
Discipline the exact same way for the exact same infraction every single time?
Be consistent with devotions, meal planning, laundry, good attitudes, and every other thing every single time?
I mean, it literally is impossible to be consistent.
There is no one who can maintain this perfection day after day. (Wow, this is encouraging, isn’t it?) But it’s true. Even Paul reminds us that we all “fall short of the glory of God”. (Romans 3:23)
So, how do we demonstrate consistency in our lives to our children?
Consistent faithfulness to God, His Word, His church. Consistent love in our marriage. Consistent discipline. Consistent friendship, selflessness, and gentleness.
The very first thing we need to do is let our kids know how incredibly inconsistent and unfaithful we are. What?! Show them weakness?! Won’t they smell it and revolt? Or surround and destroy us?
No. In fact, when we let our kids know we are fallen people in need of a Savior, they will be able to see their own need as well. When we recognize our faults, ask for forgiveness and show our dependency on the Lord it will be a model of how they can and should relate to God.
In the book of Isaiah, there is a promise (that the Israelites did not take God up on) that says,
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength . . . ” (Isaiah 30:15)
When I choose to repent in front of and to my children, they see the salvation of the Lord to be active in my life.
It’s part of that upside-down kingdom of the Lord - he who is first is last, the servant is greatest and the repentant aren’t punished but saved. So when we show our kids our inconsistencies and ask for forgiveness, repenting before them, we are in fact, showing off God’s true, constant nature and love.
And that is my second tip for consistency with kids: point your children to God, the only faithful and consistent one.
Over and over in the Psalms, there are songs about God’s faithfulness to His people and His Word. In the stories of the Old Testament, we see a faithful God who never fails His people, even when His people fail Him over and over again. In the New Testament, we read clearly of Jesus who is faithful to His Father and to the plan they had to save the world.
As our children grow and discover more about themselves, about their family, and about God, let us help them see and know that the only consistent one is God. Let your relationship with God model that God’s compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is [His] faithfulness! (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Teaching Moment for Little Kids
Pick a time of day (sunrise or sunset is nice if your kids are up at that time) to check on the sun for several days in a row. Make a checklist or draw a picture of where it is at this time each day. After a few days, ask, “Have we seen the sun every day? Has it been in the basic same spot each time we’ve checked on it? Of course! The sun never fails to show up and run its course. This is because our faithful God put it there. The sun is a picture to remind us of how faithful God is to us!”
Teaching Moment for Bigger Kids
Have a long jump contest. Make a starting line and a way to measure how long each child can jump (maybe with a measuring stick or a piece of string). Let each child jump 3-5 times and record their distances. Then compare each of their individual jumps. Were they consistent? Did they get the exact same jump each time? How hard is it to do it exactly the same every time? Consistency is something to be worked toward, but it’s hard to do. Read one or more of the following Psalms and talk about the consistent faithfulness of God: Psalm 33:4, Psalm 47:10, Psalm 86:15, Psalm 100:5