Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Follow through. If you say it, mean it, and if you mean it, follow through. Kids know when you mean it and when you don’t. Follow-through will reduce frustration and conflict with children while teaching them life skills. Follow-through is a form of action and a powerful way to get your children to listen and cooperate. When you use follow-through, you are being extremely proactive as a parent.
Before you can follow through though you must decide what to do in each situation. Rather than saying things you don’t really mean when you’re in a struggle with your child, take a step back and give the matter your full attention. Decide what you will do to improve the situation. For example, My two-year-old used to run into the street by our house. I decided that whenever we were outside and he ran into the street he would have to go inside. I told him this. The next time we were outside he ran into the street. I took him by the hand and led him inside while saying, “I wish you could stay outside but you chose to leave the sidewalk. Next time you can choose to stay on the sidewalk and we can stay outside.” It only took a few times of doing this and now he generally stays out of the street.
Once you decide what you will do in a specific situation you are ready to follow through on that action. The steps for follow-through are:
Give the matter your full attention.
Acknowledge your child’s feelings and grant the child his wish in fantasy.
Tell your child what to do instead of what not to do or work out a solution with your child’s help
Say how you feel and set your limit
Follow through with action
Following these steps is easier than you might think. You follow through on things every day. For example, you probably put your child in a car seat or seat belt every time you’re in the car despite their protest. You also probably make them go to school and do their homework despite their complaints.
*The resource that I used for this post is Positive Discipline A-Z by Jane Nelsen, Lynn Lott, and H. Stephen Glenn.