A Parenting Essential, Part 2

A Deadly Mistake

In Part 1 of this series, we talked about follow-through being an essential component of parenting as it relates to “good” things, such as keeping happy or exciting promises to your children. Today, I want to remind you of one of the deadliest mistakes of parenting: failure to follow through on stated consequences.

Part of parenting, of course, is creating and maintaining boundaries in our children’s lives, primarily for safety, and to facilitate proper training. Applying consequences is a natural part of this equation and not necessarily a bad part either. We want our kids to learn lessons that are uncomfortable or even painful while they are still at home, where we can still take them in our arms and make it all better. However, either the discomfort or inconvenience of enforcing consequences often keeps parents from taking the firm stand required.

However, if you say it, you better follow through; I don’t care how inconvenient it is! Here’s why: By not following through on stated consequences, or even by delaying the consequences for a long time, you are training your kids that your “words of warning” are not reliable. Think about that for a moment. When Dad or Mom says that consequences are coming, it rarely happens. As a 9-year-old, your child will play the system and interpret your leniency as convenient for them, but as a 16-year-old … One day, you will look into your teenager’s eyes and discuss the life-altering dangers of premarital sex and drug use. You better hope they are conditioned to believe that when Mom and Dad give a warning, they better heed it. If you are failing to follow through with discipline and consequences for undesirable behavior today, you are undermining your credibility for the big issues tomorrow.

About Kris Hogan

With a 16-year educational tenure under his belt, Kris Hogan has spent the last nine years working at Grapevine Faith High School in Grapevine, Texas. In addition to sitting on its administrative team, Hogan also pulls double duty as Faith’s head football coach. Hogan also was the subject of Remember Why You Play, a 2008 book by sports columnist and author David Thomas that chronicled the lives, struggles and successes of Coach Hogan and his team. READ MORE→