Being Consistent in Parenting

August 11, 2022

Last week, we began a series on Jesus-Centered Parenting by looking at the topic of Kindness. This week, I want you to consider the power of consistency in your parenting.

(If you aren’t a parent, I believe this week’s topic can still be applied to your work relationships, friendships, extended family, and your significant other. So please keep reading!)

If you are a parent, you make it difficult for your child(ren) to thrive in life if you are consistently inconsistent. For example, one day when they break something by dropping it on the floor, you respond very gently, filling them with grace. But the next day when they accidentally drop something else, you yell at them, filling them with shame. This confuses your kiddo tremendously, making them walk on eggshells around you, uneasy at how you are going to react moment to moment.

So clearly you want to be consistent. But let me add here - be consistent in the right ways.

For instance, you should not consistently hit your child when they mouth off at you. (First, that's abuse. Second, you are teaching them to try to control others through physical violence.) Nor should you consistently call them demeaning names. (That's verbal abuse, and also teaches them to manipulate others through hurtful words.)

Instead, you should seek to be consistent in grace & truth.

Consistent Grace, Consistent Truth

In John 1:14, Jesus was described as being full of grace and truth. If we are to live like Jesus in our lives, including our parenting, we also need to seek to be full of grace and truth by giving grace and truth. Consistently investing these two Spirit-led characteristics in your children can be extremely powerful in their lives. Here's what I mean:

Consistently giving your child grace reveals you are not defining your child by their mistakes and that they can actually learn through their mistakes. At the same time, giving grace acknowledges your own imperfection and God's tremendous grace towards you (Ephesians 4:32).

At the same time, truth matters. If your child lies to their teacher or a friend, you don't just "give them grace" as if it’s no big deal. You need to teach them that lying is wrong and honesty really is the best policy. Help your child realize the importance of right and wrong.

Let me give you an imaginary scenario:

Being Consistent In Parenting • Riverwood Church

Your child asks to watch an episode of their favorite TV program. You tell them yes, but instruct them to turn off the TV as soon as the show is done. They happily sit down on the floor to watch their show while you head to another part of the house to get chores done.

An hour and a half later, as you move through the house, you suddenly realize you hear something that doesn't sound like a child's play, but rather like a TV show still playing. You head to the TV room to discover your child engrossed in their third episode. They clearly broke your rule and got caught up in the fun of binge-watching their favorite show.

What do you do? First, give them grace. If you stop to think about it, you've very likely binged your own favorite program before. So be kind and forgiving.

However, what they did was wrong. They put their TV show above your instruction. (If they continue that pattern in life, they will make lousy employees, spouses, and parents.) So you might calmly talk with them about how their behavior was wrong, and decide together a plan for how to stop this in the future.

  • You could set a timer to remind them to turn off the TV.
  • You could agree together to watch no TV for the next couple of days.
  • You could figure out how to set the auto-timer on your smart TV to turn off the screen at a certain time.

Whatever you decide to do, help them learn that right and wrong matters, yet they are still deeply loved despite their oversight or intentional disregard for the rules.

This type of consistency will help your children be emotionally healthy, which will also help them be spiritually healthy. After all, you ultimately want them to follow the One True God, who is consistently consistent. So give your kids a glimpse of their loving, consistent Creator by asking the Holy Spirit to help you be consistent in your parenting.

Erin Bird Lead Pastor - Riverwood Church

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