Every night and every morning both my husband and I say, “Stay in your room until the light turns yellow,” and all of our children say “Ok.” We are our children’s programmers. Our children do as we do and will say as we say. The way they think is also guided by how we interact with them.
Something I have recently come across is self-discipline and consistency.
This is not anything new and not anything that cannot be achieved. Our children need and strive on consistency. Self-discipline is also something that can be learned, with constant correction, guidance, and repetition by us, the parents. Self-discipline is never easy. Disciplining our children, repeating the same thing and making them do it over and over again, will teach our children that they can’t give up.
To master the art of parenting takes a lot of consistency and self-discipline. Having our kids do as we say and not as we do will break our credibility and will teach them that it’s ok to not follow through with what you say. And of course there are obvious exceptions, like drinking or smoking.
Any parent gets it and we all say we are tired. I know I am personally tired of repeating everything, including, “Stay in your room until the light turns yellow.” It has not been easy with my children and both my husband and I waking up tired from a night or early morning where one or both children came into bed with us, but it’s getting better. My daughter is staying in her room more often than not, but my son still comes in after wetting his pants; sometimes even crawling in without us even realizing it until the morning. We are being consistent with it but can tighten up our boundaries to allow a better flow of consistency and expectation. We can get a few extra minutes of sleep now by ignoring it, or we can get the consistent adequate sleep we need, uninterrupted, later on for a lifetime.
Self-discipline is important and it’s important for us to give our children this tool through consistency; yes, like a broken-record.
My children “know better,” but they are constantly pushing those boundaries to see if we will crack or give in. This is no different than those negative thoughts we may have or temptations that surround us or influences from people or the environment. We, too, have to practice consistency and self-discipline for ourselves, for our own success and achievement.
Being a parent, you may find yourself easily pushing yourself to the back burner. It’s easier. It’s easier to watch TV when tired. It’s easier to not shower. It’s easier to stay in your pj’s. It’s easier to not make your bed. It’s easier to dine out or order-in. Taking the easier way will affect us in the long run and will take two to three times more energy to “fix.”
We gain weight. We don’t feel beautiful. We feel lazy. We don’t want to do things with our kids. We want more time alone. We lose ourselves slowly and forget the things that made us feel alive, a feeling of purpose. Self-discipline makes you get up earlier, stay longer, put in more effort, go a little further; it makes you push harder than you ever thought possible. Self-discipline also makes you more credible and more reliable, yes, even to your children and your significant other.
This must be practiced daily, and carried through all areas of our life, otherwise procrastination will “infect” those areas of our lives; even if we are disciplined in some areas of our life. You have a toddler now who throws tantrums. BUT do you want a teenager who you fight and argue with? You do everything for your children now because it’s just easier if you do it. BUT do you want to clean up after you teenager or young adult? You have children with messy rooms. BUT do you clean your own room and make your bed?
Again, we are the parents and we are our children’s programmers. We can teach our kids to accept responsibility. We can teach our kids how to be self-disciplined. We, ourselves, just have to be consistent with what we say, words we use, things we do or don’t do. They are always watching and listening.
It’s 2022 and this is my personal goal: to be more consistent, self-disciplined and more present because I want to be better. I want to be a better mom. I could buy that toy for them now to make them shush up OR I can be a better mom and get it for them later IF they still want it when we go back to that store.