Inconsistency shows up when Mommy hasn't overcome sin and still struggles in an area. I can vouch for the fact that if a Mommy slams doors when she is angry, she will have kids who slam doors. It is very hard to discipline children for behaviors they are only imitating. It is humbling when our children remind us of the need to lead consistent, victorious Christian lives before them.
We deal with our own sin, then humbly deal with theirs. Ours cannot excuse theirs, ours must prove a greater need for the family to overcome the sin patterns they are struggling with.
Inconsistency gives sin a foot in the door. When Mommy gives in once to whining or tantrums, the kids will try it more times. You proved their methods might work, and give them reason to keep trying to get their own way. If you have proved unfaithful, they will press you more, not less. BE FIRM! If you never give in, they will give up trying.
I used to tell one of my children "I am the boss and I will win" over and over and over. It was as much a reminder to myself as to my child that I was the God-given authority and my job was to win the battle for the sake of their spiritual welfare.
Inconsistency leads to confusion. Neither parent nor child will fully know what to demand or expect in a situation. If you said NO to eating a snack before dinner two times, but said YES once, they won't know what the "rule" is. They will always take the lower path, or the path that is more enticing, assuming that now they can help themselves to a snack every time.
There is always a time to break a rule. Just make it clear the reasons for the exception, and that life will go back to normal later. Keep communication clear to reduce frustration.
Inconsistency leads to mistrust. Children follow our leadership. Most of the time the children love us and trust us. It is a beautiful thing born into the heart of a child, this great love for their parents. We bask in their love and how spontaneously they show it. However, when we aren't consistent in our lives and in how we lead our homes, we can cause them to start to doubt and mistrust our leadership.
These examples are of a few rules where I feel I was consistent. Notice, I could only list two.
RULE: If you ask for a treat in the grocery store, you will NOT get one.
You might get one later and it will end up in your hair, but never for fussing at the grocery store.
Steadfast. I had to stand on this rule, even when I wanted to give in. I love buying treats or presents for my kids. But, I only will reward good behavior. Treats in the store are NEVER because they fussed and you need to bribe them. Once you reward bad behavior, you will have bad behavior.
When Bethany was about three, she loved to go into the gas station, open a sucker and eat it. The cashiers thought she was cute and always wanted her to keep it. Several times I had to buy the sucker and throw it out, while emphasizing to her stealing didn't please the Lord. Cuteness could not overrule what is right.
RULE: If you ask to do something with your friend in front of your friend, the answer will be NO.
We had to teach our children that we needed full disclosure on the situation they were asking to participate in, and we had to have the freedom to ask questions and give our honest answer without the scrutiny of their friends. They learned in a hurry that if they wanted to do something badly enough, they would ask us in private, allowing the discussion to take place that would help us make the best decision for the situation.
Consistency is important for our walk and for our spiritual impact upon our children.
I Corinthians 15:58
Therefore, my beloved
be steadfast, immovable,
always abounding in the work of the Lord,
knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.