One of the hallmarks of good parenting is consistency. Having a regular bedtime, for example.
Consistency is something my wife and I take seriously. This came up just this morning.
Xavier was sitting at the table as I was getting his breakfast ready. He was waiting perhaps about 30 seconds. This is, of course, an eternity to a toddler. He started messing around with the placemat, scooting it off of the table.
I told him to keep his placemat on the table. He chose to take it completely off the table and have it land on the floor. I then told him to pick it up, and he refused. This eventually escalated to the point of him getting placed in a “time out” – and this is where the consistency comes in.
As he was placed in time out (which is still in the kitchen, sort of next to where I was) he proceeded to scooch forward out of his spot. I told him to get back where he was supposed to be. This naturally escalated into another battle of wills. Every time he moved out of the spot, his time out started over.
What could have been a simple resolution (leaving the placemat alone) had escalated into an early morning struggle for control. Did I need to take it that far? He’s only two and a half.
As parents, we may be consistently wrong, but we are consistent.