Compromise and Consistency

 

Parenting requires a good mix of things, somethings you already know before getting into it, somethings you figure out after the situation is over and done with, but a lot of the time you learn as you go. It just the nature of the situation. Each child and situation is different and calls for a different response.

I know every person had an idea how they planned to tackle parenthood and raise their children. I know I use to say, “When I have kids they are going to…” or “They will never…”. As I type that, it makes me laugh. While it is good to think ahead and get a game plan, almost always it will change.

One of the biggest revelations I had as a parent regarding my children, is they are little human beings. I know, not exactly a huge bubble bursting moment, but I think we forget this concept of them being actual human beings. When they first come out, they are completely dependent on you for everything. They have almost no free-will except to cry for what they want. So you can kind of slip into a pet mentality. They do what I want and are here for me.

Yep. Nope.

Then the day comes when your child does not do what you want. The realization hits, they are not here for my pleasure and enjoyment only. Oh my goodness, they are a person, with real feelings and desires.

When I made that big discovery, it completely changed my outlook on parenting. I started thinking along the lines of, “If I was them, how would I feel right now?” and then handle the situation from there. It brought a lot more grace and mercy out of me. I found a lot more patience and concern instead of just anger and frustration.

If I was going to have children that can handle tough situations in life, I needed to teach them how to conduct themselves and handle their emotions instead of just demanding results.

Addy and Mommy

Getting a child to act a certain way for you, does not mean they actually learned how to handle themselves. You may have only taught them to mimic and perform with no lasting results.

 

That is where the art of consistency and compromise comes into play. Everyday you, as the parent, learn to balance being consistent and compromising.

One trick that helps me with consistency is…

Don’t be so quick to speak.

When you speak too quickly, you end up committing yourself to something you later regret.

For instance, promising ice cream for a reward to illicit good behavior. Then realizing they have not eaten anything good yet and you don’t really have the money for it. Shoot. Now you can either break your promise or do what you really did not want.

Here’s an other. Warning them of a pending punishment, if they don’t stop doing what they are doing. But really you are just stressed out, you have no intention of punishing them, you know they are just tired and need a nap, you do too. Now once again, you are in a place of breaking your word or doing what you really don’t want to do.

When a situation arises in my home, instead of a quick snap decision, I try to pause and really access it. I will look at my daughter and what is going on and think to myself, “What is the best way to handle this?”.

Now please don’t get me wrong, I have by no mean perfected this. I am a normal human being too. I get myself into situations all the time where I am forced to make a decision I didn’t intend to make.
This is just a habit I am working on, where I wait to speak. In fact this can be used in a lot of areas in life. Your marriage… Don’t be so quick to respond in a disagreement. Friendship…. you know when you shouldn’t have said that thing, but you did anyway and now they are hurt and upset at you. Police officer… sometimes a quiet attitude of “I can’t believe I got pulled over” can help you more than all the lame excuses you have thought up.

Now compromise isn’t as much about speaking too soon as a difference in opinion and desires between two people and finding a solution that satisfies both.

An example…

My daughter was sleeping in our bed for a while after the baby was born. Eventually I wanted to transition her back to her bed. I waited until we had gotten new beds for the girls. Then I made my move. The problem is she is used to having me there at night. So as a compromise I would lay down on her bed with her till she fell asleep and then keep the doors open so I could easily hear her if she awoke during the night. So, you see, I got her out of my bed, and she still had me to help her fall asleep and the knowledge I am close enough to help her in the middle of the night.

It worked out very well. It has gotten to the place where I do not need to lay down with her every single time. Sometimes she falls asleep on her own. YAY!!

That is compromise. Compromise should not be you going against your already spoken word. It is alright on a very rare occasion, but if you are constantly not doing what you said you would do, then your child can not relay on you for stability and that is bad.

If you do not know then say that. When my daughter asks for something and I just don’t know who I feel about it, then that’s what I tell her. “I don’t know, sweetie, why don’t we wait a little bit and see.” Then I do just that. That phrase should not be used as a tactic to make them forget. It should be used for you to figure out what you want to do. If it is a “No” then I will usually state when we “can” do it.
Like, “We are not going to go to the pool today, but we can go tomorrow.”

Learning those two skills can help you through a lot. How do you handle those moments? What is your philosophy in parenting? Comment below and let me know.

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