How many times have you heard…Always be consistent with your discipline? Sometimes that is easier said than done. Have you ever thought about why you don’t?

Could it be about avoiding conflict?

When we choose not to follow through on consequences, or not to discipline in the moment when we know we should, it is often as a result of our need in the moment. WE get in the way. Our reasons sound like:

  • We were just having such a good time I didn’t want to spoil it
  • I don’t want to make him angry
  • She will get so upset and it will last for days
  • He is going through so much, I don’t want to make it worse
  • I am so tired I don’t have the energy for another argument
  • I just want them to be happy

The problem is that meeting our need in the moment does not create the result we want in the long run, which is a happy, resourceful adult. We may get a result of, them and us being happier in that moment, but this will not result in lasting fulfilment and connection.

One of the lessons I learnt from my own experience with my son who opposed everything, was to understand the relationship between conflict and love. Originally for me, if there was conflict, we weren’t a happy, loving family. When I learnt to separate conflict from who we were and to stop resisting it, it gave us the opportunity to truly listen.

Not resisting conflict gives us the opportunity to understand each other better and allow each other to express ourselves fully. This increases depth in connection and love. In other words, we need conflict to truly love ourselves and others. Love is not about not having conflict; it is about being present for each other without judgement in the conflict, and this takes courage and effort.

When we set firm, consistent boundaries even when there is conflict, we actually love them more. We are developing in them the character and learning they need in order to become resourceful adults.

Being consistent with boundaries and discipline provides a system for communication. It creates a foundation of safety even when sometimes our children and teenagers don’t like it. We will be able to be more consistent when we keep our focus and measure our effectiveness on our end result rather than on the peace in the moment.

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