Consistency Matters—we know this is true.
Being a consistent parent means creating predictable daily routines, following through on consequences and reinforcing strategies. We know we need to be consistent, but the big question is how can we be consistent? It is so very hard.
How many of us have joined gyms in January and maintained a routine for 2 weeks only to drop off because it was so difficult to stay consistent? How many of us have declared we are going to start going to bed earlier so we are well rested the next day? These new habits work for a bit because we are motivated and it feels good to accomplish a goal—-and then there is an event or some wrench in our plans that throws us off and we lose our consistency. Our new habit is broken and the inevitable guilt comes when we have to admit our good intentions fell by the wayside because we simply couldn’t maintain the consistency.
No one is alone in this sentiment because we have all been there. There are things we can try though–and they are simple little hacks that greatly improve our odds at consistency. And when it comes to parenting, if we can just be consistent with our strategies–everyone benefits. Our children learn new skills and we feel good that we are doing all we can to give our children the best support.
Have a conversation with your child that you intend to be more consistent.
Owning up to past tendencies to lose consistency and setting your intention for improving let’s your child know that you mean business, consequences are going to stick and this can minimize the bargaining to get out of a consequence. This also applies to a new family rule. If you let your child know that you intend to be more consistent with a family rule, then they are less apt to bargain with you to let up on that rule. Having a conversation in advance also provides a layer of accountability on your part because you said out loud that you intend to be more consistent.
Write it down.
There is power in writing intentions down. It provides evidence that this is really happening. Writing down your intention also provides another layer of memory for you so when needed, you can recall that there is a strategy to use. This visual can also be posted so everyone can see and understand what the rule is as well as the consequence. No one can argue with a clearly stated intention!
Set reminders and alarms.
Create a reminder on your phone that simply says “be consistent” or “remember the phone rule” or whatever it is you are trying to be consistent with. If you typically ignore reminders when they pop up, set an alarm for specific times of day when you know you might need a reminder. If you get a notification through an alarm throughout the day, you will keep this new plan “to be consistent” top of mind, which automatically boosts up the rate of success!
Use the cue word “Non-negotiable” when there is a rule in place or an answer to a question that you will not budge on.
Knowing your ADHD child, they will take all directives for what they are worth and will negotiate every detail whenever they see fit! When your child hears the word “non-negotiable,” they will know that your word is final and that continuing to argue will result in a consequence. Doing so cuts off the ADHD train of thought in its tracks so that the argument does not go on and on in the brain.
When trying to stay consistent you can expect push back. Be sure to disengage from the discussion when you use the phrase “non-negotiable” or give a reminder of a rule and say nothing more. The extra language and explanation of why the directive is given or why you are upset that it was ignored fires up an ADHD brain, making an argument or emotional breakdown an almost certainty. We know this can be difficult but we also know it works!
Always remember to talk to your child about any new strategy and why you are using it. The learning happens when your child gains a better understanding of “why” you are using a strategy as it directly relates to how their brain processes what is happening. The more self awareness your child has the better!
Feeling like you need a better understanding of your child’s ADHD and want parenting strategies that work? The ADHD Parenting Blueprint will be available VERY SOON! Hop on the waitlist today!