I know that in parenting one of my big goals is to help my kids have healthy, thriving relationships.
When I think of relationships for my children, it is easy to think of the end result. I know I want our children to navigate and keep relationships, as well as end unhealthy relationships.
However, sometimes parents do not realize that it is parenting that plays a huge role on the relationships our kids will have throughout their entire lives.
Let’s step back and look at The Big Three in Parenting and how this will help kids navigate healthy relationships.
The Big Three in Parenting
There is SO MUCH parenting information out there. Books, blogs, podcasts, radio shows…we are bombarded with information.
But I do not think parenting is as complicated when you can narrow it down to these big three.
Our kids must learn how to make choices.
While living in our home, it is important that we give our kids lots of chances to make big and small choices.
For toddlers, give them LOTS of choices. Do you want to take your bath now or in 5 minutes? Do you want to wear the red or blue pajamas? Do you want to read Good Night Moon or Pout-Pout Fish?
Choices are essential to helping a toddler learn, but also to help your child be less defiant.
From the examples above, if I would have told my toddler time to get in the bath. I can almost assure you I would have received “NO”. Instead, by giving a choice, “do you want to take your bath now or in 5 minutes?” I took no out of the equation.
For preschoolers and elementary-age children, try to include them in day-to-day decisions. Let them help plan family outings, meals for the week, books they read.
Our kids learn all about respect when we offer them respect in our homes as growing children.
Once we have learned the value of choices and provide lots of opportunities for our kids to practice, then consequences come into play.
Every choice has a consequence. Every time you say yes to something, you are saying no to something else.
It is essential to teach kids that there are real consequences to our choices.
In our home, these consequences are so much smaller than they will be in the real world. Our homes are a good place to practice consequences.
One of the best ways to start using consequences is to set up family rules.
I have learned so much over the years from the Power of Moms. (This is the course that I am currently taking – Family Systems ecourse)
One of my biggest takeaways is that our rules need to be clear and defined.
The Power of Moms shared a list of family rules, and these are the ones we are using as well!
Once the rules are set, natural consequences are easy to set.
If you break the family rule of peace, you sit on the redemption step (you will have to learn more about this from The Power of Moms – it is awesome!!)
If you break the family rule of respect, you first get a chance to stop, rewind, and try again.
If you break the family rule of asking, you lose that privilege next time.
See how simple it is to let consequences naturally fall when the rules are clearly stated.
Another amazing benefit of having family rules: you can blame the rules. Instead of me being the bad guy, it is the rules.
Example: When the rule of respect is broken: “You are breaking our family rule of respect. Let’s stop, rewind, and try again.”
Once children understand that choices have consequences (and you follow through!!), then our kids start learning the value in making good choices.
Choices are imporatant. Consequences are essential. But consistency is vital.
Without consistency, all the choices and consequences in the world are not going to matter.
What is consistency in parenting? Doing what you say and saying what you mean.
This means that you may need to say fewer words, and be careful with the words you choose.
If you cannot follow through with something you are saying, it is better left unsaid.
Now I have been guilty of making the ultimatums myself, such as “you will never …. again”. It happens. We make mistakes.
However, giving lots of choices and having the family rules in place, makes consistency so much easier.
As you parent your children, stop and think about what you are saying. Does it make sense? Can it be followed through? Am I being realistic?
And when you find yourself slipping up or making a mistake, ask for forgiveness. Model forgiveness and humility.
What Do the 3 C’s Have to Do With Relationships?
Think about our bigger goal in parenting. I want my children to have a relationship with God, a relationship with their spouse, a relationship with their children, and a relationship with their family.
Relationships are so essential to the Christian life.
Our kids have to learn how to thrive in these relationships.
As parents train their children using the 3 C’s: choices, consequences, and consistency. they learn the foundation of all relationships.
This is so important for our kids as they make friends, grow and mature, and one day have a spouse and children of their own.
Think today how you will apply the 3 C’s and get started.
I know you will be amazed at the results.