The parents who operate under the “do as I say and not as I do” mantra will find it very hard to get their children to comply with house rules and behavioral rules. At the same time, the parents who bend rules to make their kids happy are doing just as much damage as those parents who refuse to be good examples.
During the developmental phases of a child’s life, it is very important to get your child to understand the importance of complying with rules. When they are young, this means doing what they are told by mom and dad. As they get older, this should transition into following the law to avoid big time trouble. But if you want your child to be willfully compliant to rules, then you as a parent need to be consistent.
Children Learn By Example
Children learn by watching their parents. Even a child who seems to be completely disinterested in discipline still wants to emulate what their parents do. If you tell your child to pick up their clothes off the floor before going to bed, then you better do the same.
There are some rules that can simply be justified with the all-powerful “because I told you so.” The best example of this is sending your child to bed a couple of hours before you go to bed. They don’t understand that they are younger and need their sleep, so they usually accept doing it because they are told.
But if you want your child to eat everything on their plate and keep their room clean, then you better be prepared to do the same. A consistent example set by parents is the strongest way to get children to comply to house rules.
Special Occasions Do Not Allow For Change
If little Timmy knows that he can stay up an hour later because grandma came to visit, then he is going to look forward to grandma’s visits for all of the wrong reasons. A big part of the consistency required to get children to comply with house rules is making sure those rules remain intact during special occasions. In some instances, family traditions for special holidays can trump daily rules. But it needs to be explained each time that the rules are only being ignored because of this once-a-year event.
Consistency Does Not Get Sick Days
Sending Junior to bed early because mommy does not feel good creates conflict within your child and can threaten to undo all of the work you have done to that point. Everyone gets sick and everyone has a bad day. The key is to not allow that to get in the way of helping your child to develop a respect for the rules that the family has set.
Young children are very impressionable, especially when it comes to the actions of their parents. If you want to develop willful compliance in your child for house rules and a respect for authority, then you must be consistent in your actions. When parents set a strong example for children to follow, then it becomes easier for those parents to teach their children the skills they will need to live happy lives.