I often hear parents giving the sage advice that in order to be effective, you must be consistent. When speaking about behavioral training, this is true. Clinical studies show that inconsistency causes anxiety, and in more extreme cases, neurosis. Parents who choose to use behavioral training with their children, also referred to as punishments and/or rewards, need to be consistent in order for these techniques to work. The problem with consistency is that it doesn’t exist. Situations, environments, people, feelings, and needs all change. We live in a dynamic world. What is acceptable in one situation may not be acceptable in another. In that light, it’s more important to take situations on a case by case basis. Eschew the punitive parenting and treat your children as people. You may not be able to be consistent, but you can be honest and real.
Honest and real – so true! This is exactly how I feel about this consistency thing.