Consistency in Parenting

Just as a hay baler scoops up the windrows of hay and forms and molds them to either square or round bales, then turns them out consistently in the field, one right after another, we must be consistent in the training of our precious ones God has left in our care.

Consistency.  We need the right consistency for our bread to bake properly, cake icing needs beaten til the perfect consistency, we need consistency from the sun and the rain for our gardens to produce the greatest amount of produce, and we must have consistency in the training up of our children.

Will we be consistent 100% of the time?  No, because we ourselves are fallen creatures, sinners saved by the grace of Jesus Christ, our Lord, but we must strive towards this end.

There are many consequences for our inconsistency, whether we are too lazy, or we want to be more of our children's friends than their parents, or we simply find it too difficult.  Let's look at some ways where not being balanced and consistent can set us up for failure.  Yes, God gives grace, and oftimes when we do something the wrong way, He covers us and we are still blessed, and other times we see the consequences of what we should have done different to prevent bad behavior.  That is what we will see here in the next few paragraphs.

Parents too often allow only one to be the disciplinarian while the other may not have or want any part of this process.  Sometimes the mother will simply not allow the father to have a part in the discipline process, and in this way they are setting their sons and daughters up for failure because one, they will not have any respect for male authority, beginning with their father, and subsequently, will disregard others in authority over them.  This is wrong on another level because the husband and father is to be the prophet, priest, protector and provider.  When he is not allowed to be the things God has called him to, the family will suffer.  Now mothers, if you are married to a "Mr. Command" man, and he has said he is to be the only disciplinarian, then you must adhere to his desires, because God has placed you under his authority, but problems arise from this as well, because the children will grow up not respecting the mother as they should and thus treating their spouses in ways not pleasing to the Lord.  The father can command the children to respect the mother but it will be from a demand rather than a desire to please and respect.  Consistency and balance in all things is God's plan for us as parents; it is how He loves and guides us.  We must follow Him.

Sometimes we have the wrong consistency, and just like a loaf of bread, a cake, or icing which will not turn out without the right consistency, we can train our children to dishonor and disrespect those they come in contact with.  How many times has your child been disobedient and we say, "if you do that again, you will get in trouble," only to say it 10 more times before you actually dole out some sort of punishment, if any at all?  Other times we say, " don't make me count to three," and only then we may follow through, and still others simply never do what they say.  The lesson you have just taught your child is to lie, because you said you would do something and then did not do it.  In Elisabeth Elliot's book, Let Me Be a woman, she speaks of this.  Now, we would never intentionally teach our children to lie, and we would always tell them lying is wrong, and it is a sin to lie, yet every time we say the above, that is exactly what we have done.  Our children need to learn to obey, all the way, right away, and with a joyful heart.  When we consistently allow our children to wait until we count to three to do something we are teaching them "delayed obedience," as Voddie Baucham, in Family Driven Faith calls it, and that is disobedience, whichever way you look at it.  The earlier you begin to teach your children to obey, the easier it will be when they get 5, 10, or 15 years old.  When you wait until they are one of these ages to begin teaching obedience, more often than not you have already lost them.

Consistency can work to the good or to the bad, and as parents we must look to God's Word, our training manual for life, and specifically in this area of raising our children.  Proverbs is absolutely filled with how to train our children.  Remember, parents are to take this responsibility and train their children; it is not the primary job of others they come in contact with.  Others should be able to see the benefits of raising our children for Christ by how they obey those in authority over them, how they are willing to help, to serve, in being kind, and not manipulative in any way.  Seeing children this way, we know parents have been balanced and consistent in training their future young men and young ladies.

I am not saying this is totally foolproof, because we are all sinners and eventually our young ones must answer for themselves, but I would say, and this is my opinion, that 9 times out of 10, we will have loving, kind, respectful, obedient children.  There are many other reasons why our "training" may not be effective, and I will not go into detail, but some are when mothers are not with their children, when we do not have a "gentle and meek spirit," when we let others do more of the training than we do, or we hardly ever say "no" to anything, whether it is giving them everything they want, or never withholding anything, then there will be consequences for these actions we as parents have allowed.  These consequences will also be felt in the future generations to come, as Exodus 20:5-6 points out.  Verse 6 though, gives us hope, where it says, "but showing loving kindness to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments."  Consequences for disobedience and loving kindness for keeping His commandments!  God is good, but He is also a just God.  He desires and expects our best, and we should not give Him less.  We must search His Word for our instructions and obey all the way, right away, and with a joyful heart, and consistently teach our children the same.  The rewards are abundant and glorious!  Young adults who love His Word and His ways are a gift and a blessing of our diligence and consistent obedience to the One who died for and saved us from our sins.  What amazing love!  

I had been planning this post for some time and when I was getting ready to finish it, I received a great post from Joy at  She deals alot with grace parenting, and this is something no one taught me while raising my children.  I did use Scripture in teaching and training, and explained why we do or do not do something, but not to the extent they teach, and sometimes, though, we simply must obey.  Read her wonderful words at the link above and be encouraged.  
I continued in prayer and waited for God to give me the rest of the words He wanted me to say, and then soon after, Joy wrote another glorious post on being inconsistent, which is something I have been on my blog for the past few weeks.  There are going to be many times I am inconsistent in blogging because my family will come first.  I appreciate you who read and I pray a post will bless you or maybe give you insight into our Great God you may not have had before.  I love and pray for each of you whose desire is to follow Him in all things and raise your children in the way God would have us to.  Since I am presently on the other side, and am now an "older" woman, I pray my words will be an encouragement to each and every one of you.

Always love, love, love as you discipline your children, God disciplines us because He loves us, we do the same with our children.  So, let all you do be done in and through love, for them and for God.

Learning, loving and serving together in Christ, because He first loved us.

Always Experiencing Him,


Sammy and Missy Parris said...

Just wanted to tell you thank you for my book and how much I've enjoyed it. I have already read it through once and now my husband is working on it. I plan to read it through with my oldest 3 also. The funny thing is Sarah who is 3 calls it her new book and will sit in the living room and act like she's reading it. She is very careful and has said for her new book not to be messed with(wonder where she heard that one). Thanks again!!! Missy

Faith Family said...

I am so glad you enjoyed it. I certainly did! The little ones pick it all up, don't they? She is learning well, though, being very careful with books. Have a blessed day!
Always Experiencing Him,

Stacy Harris said...

Loved your post. How wonderfully said and always a great reminder. I have children from 18 down to 3 and often I can be distracted from training when I am having conversations with the older children. I should stop and deal with the interrupter then continue instead of talking over her. May God Bless You and keep up the great posts.

Jody said...

Thanks for coming over Stacy! Years ago I would have said "no, they need to learn to not interrupt," but now, I agree that since the older children understand what you are doing, then yes, you need to stop and deal, and teach, and train the younger ones. It is so easy to get distracted from our job at hand, but consistency is the key as we train them unto the Lord. I so appreciate your encouraging words.
Always Experiencing Him,