It’s in my humble opinion that consistency in parenting is a serious MUST! All of us parents feel the need to let our guilt change the course from time to time but am I the only one that has ever been bit in the butt by that? I think not!
Case in point? I created the “Healthy snack” rule for after school homework time. We have been making huge changes in our household with our dietary habits. We are eating cleaner and more “real” foods. We can have all the enthusiasm we want but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be as welcomed by the children. My hope was that the Healthy snack rule would encourage fruit and veggie snack requests. One can hope.
Then one very busy hella week, I veered off the path of food righteousness and offered a cookie grab bag as the homework snack. How the heck did they even get in the house? They were left over and were never purged from the pantry. Allie was gracious enough to accept the gesture.
Let’s have a side bar here for one minute. I have been so focused on this house hunt that it has driven me to insanity. I’m walking around with constant butterflies. You remember the ones you used to get in the 7th grade when that crush would walk by? Well, it’s with good reason…I found a house I love and I have been waiting for the good word. Okay, just a little insight to how I found myself in inconsistent territory.
This past week, Allie helped herself to a grab bag of cookies from the pantry. I looked at her and said, “Allie, that’s not a healthy snack now is it?” In her sweet voice Allie replied, “No but they weren’t healthy last week either.” Valid point? I believe so however, I needed to apologize for confusing the situation and explained that I will do better in the future to not allow our busy lives to distract our good intentions. I also reminded Allie how she could take the opportunity to be a good team player and should I ever fall off the nutrition wagon, all she has to do is ask for something healthy. She was delighted! (Actually, It was the complete opposite of that!)
Now some of you may be saying, “What’s the big deal? It’s just a little processed food full of ingredients that have very little actual food content.” To you folks I say, That I am trying to raise my children on whole foods that offer health benefits but that’s not the point. I want my children to understand that I mean what I say. If I am not consistent in my parenting efforts, they will come to expect the unexpected and that leaves very little room for certainty.
Food is one thing but lets say I tell my Children we do not swear and provide the reasons why we do not. Yet, My children consistently hear mom sounding like a fowl mouthed mama? My mixed messages will eventually leave my children to believe that everything is left up to interpretation. Children need structure and crave us to put that in place. We mustn’t allow our feelings of guilt or fear interfere with such a precious necessity.
Give your children the security they seek with consistent parenting. Never ignore that the effort you make today in their young lives is paving a path for the parents they will become in the future.