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Consistent Versus Inconsistent Parenting

What is the difference between consistent and inconsistent parenting?  Well, it’s about the same difference between a sunny day and a tornado.  Yes, it is that dramatic.

A consistent parent creates an environment where the child can learn from their choices (good or bad), and the expectations will not change.  That clarity is important for the child to grow and develop in an environment that supports good choices and teaches learning from bad choices.  A child in this environment will learn better self-regulation because they truly feel supported and secure.

An inconsistent environment is like a tornado.  The child attempts to test limits constantly because the limits are not clear.  The child is very dysregulated because they feel uncertain, insecure, and unsafe.  This is typically a child-driven environment.  The child appears to control the environment through limit testing and acting out constantly.  In all reality, no one is in control.  THe child is aimlessly making reckless decisions, and the parent is setting different limits to each of these choices.  This doesn’t work because the parent usually makes the inconsistent limits out of anger or frustration.  This teaches the child nothing about their limits, and it supports dysregulation.

Advantages of Consistency:

  • Stable child that feels safe and secure
  • Child who knows their expectations and typically follows them
  • A safe environment for the child to learn from their mistakes
  • Less dysregulation and chaos in the home
  • Process of redirection goes much smoother
  • Far fewer out of control moments