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The Battle of Consistency - Issue 334
February 21, 2014
Hi there! ....

Last weekend was a very full time – Jess and I spent most of Saturday at a quilting workshop in preparation for a quilting retreat we head off to this weekend. We are both looking forward to doing more quilting/sewing this year. Sunday afternoon, we headed off to a waterfall / swimming hole with some friends after church. The big wet we’re having is making for some great waterfalls around the countryside. I hope to have some photos up on my blog on Sunday.

During the week we did our usual things with study here at home, both Daniel and Nomi went to Bible study with other young people, Daniel had two sessions with his Taekwondo club, Daniel finished his movie he was making of our farm as well as some time spent in the shed with Peter. Nomi spent a few afternoons ironing – this is a paying job for her, but one that she enjoys as it is an opportunity to listen to audio stories at the same time as earning money!!

Live life with your kids!

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The Battle of Consistency

We all know it – consistency is important in parenting. But we also know it is one of the biggest challenges we face – and it is one of the biggest guilts we deal with. But what does consistency look like. We tend to see it as being 100 percent the same – always; but, that can look like legalism or being authoritarian. Out of reaction to that we swing the pendulum the other way – and find ourselves as inconsistent! There has to be a balance, a middle road somewhere that makes consistency doable and real.

As our children have grown older and we continue to study character, we have become aware that different traits, or responses, feed into each other, you cannot have one without the other; no character trait stands on its own. There is always balance.

With consistency comes flexibility.

  • When there is too much focus on consistency we lose focus on relationship and we become legalistic.
  • When there is too much focus on flexibility we become wishy washy, pushover parents who give in to their kids all the time.
There has to be a balance.

This balance comes out of knowing what you want for your family. It comes by understanding your values, and the consequences of not living by those values. There is a reason, a purpose, for the decisions we make on a day to day basis. Consistency is when we hold ourselves, and our family to the values that we want to live by.

Inconsistency happens when we don’t own the underlying values for ourselves – We can never be consistent if we are just copying someone else’s ideas, plans or purposes. Inconsistency happens when we know it is a good idea, but we aren’t really convinced. When we hold lightly to our values, then it is easy to let them slide when challenged.

We lose our consistency when we are tired, distracted or in a hurry. We can justify letting it slide just this once or maybe we don’t even notice a nod when it should have been a shake of the head. Inconsistency undermines our authority, our ability to speak correction into our children’s lives, and therefore will undermine our intention and purpose in the training of our kids.

Consistency on the other hand establishes not only trust and reliability in your relationship with your child, it establishes your values, and helps build healthy habits. When a child has the foundation of consistent instruction, training and correction, they have the opportunity to start taking ownership of something – be it a chore, or a behaviour. This is why consistency is so important in parenting.

Five tips to improve consistency:

  1. Know the values you want to build into your family. Know what those values look like in every day life.

  2. Pick your battles – know what needs working on in your life, your kids life, or your family life – and don’t try to work on them all at the same time. Limit yourself to a few battles or issues at any one time.

  3. Keep reminders around the house – as much for you as for your children. I like posters that remind me of the Biblical truth, or moral truth of what we are working on. I have found that I need to refresh these posters otherwise they become a part of the furniture and I don’t really see them enough to be reminded.

  4. Look after yourself so you are physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually able to be consistent. Teaching and training is exhausting – we have to be up for the task (and if we aren’t, then we need to make that a priority)

  5. Know and expect there to be conflict (this is why we have to be consistent). Know how you are going to handle a negative response to your instruction. When you know in advance, you reduce the opportunity to let something slide.

Consistency – is about standing firm on the things that are important to you. Of course there will be days that it just isn’t worth fighting the battle, there will be other days that other battles are more important, there will also be days that you simply don’t care! We need to accept these – not as failures, but as life. Each day is a new beginning – we can pick ourselves up, dust off, and look forwards rather than always looking back at what happened yesterday. Consistency can start today.

Just a note on flexibility: The difference between flexibility and inconsistency is purpose. Inconsistency happens when we are distracted with other things, when we mindlessly let things happen and suddenly we realise we have been inconsistent. I don’t think anyone sets out to be inconsistent. Flexibility though is about being aware of our purpose and making decisions that fit the moment – for an equally valid purpose. Flexibility takes into account the context of the moment; it takes into account a broad picture but it is never mindless, just float with the go. Flexibility is as intentional as consistency. They go hand in hand, just come from a different angle.

During the week I blog at Live Life with Your Kids! This week I posted:
  • Last week's wrap up (including photos)and links
  • Homeschooling is a Parenting Issue

  • Or maybe you'd like to read something from my website:

    Check out other homeschool and parenting issues over at my website, Lifestyle Homeschool

    My Bookshop

    Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.

    Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.

    Restoring the Heart, Mind and Soul of Christmas Do your Christmas celebrations line up with what you believe? Do your celebrations help your children learn more about Jesus?

    This e-book is based on a workshop I held for a couple of years to help families see that Christmas can be a significant tradition in our family life. If we are intentional about how our family celebrates we have the opportunity to use this time to teach our children about Jesus, and his love for each one of us.

    My Sitemap is a quick reference to all you will find on Lifestyle-Homeschool. I encourage you to have a browse around!

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    Until next week

    Belinda Letchford
    Living life with her kids in Australia!

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    Live life with your Kids newsletter is about being a deliberate parent, about enjoying family life and using the opportunities that happen to teach and train your children in righteousness (right living with God). I hope that you will find regular encouragement as you live life with your kids!

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