The Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng has abandoned his plan to abolish the top rate of income tax for the highest earners.It comes after pressure on him and the Prime Minister from their own MPs. But, as parents, we need to avoid a U-turn if possible. Consistent parenting is key, particularly if you have toddlers.
This article explores why consistency works so well to help the development and behaviour of younger children and advice on how to handle a situation if you really do need to admit a mistake and change course.
The importance of consistent parenting
Experts say that consistency is important when raising toddlers. Setting up rules and sticking to them is tough and it requires planning and determination, but the benefits on toddler behaviour are great. They include:
- Strengthening the connections in the child’s brain as they learn what to expect through repetitive experiences.
- An improvement in behaviour and trust in their parent as they feel increased emotional stability.
- Calming by making life more predictable for the child. There are fewer curveballs thrown at them, making them more relaxed as they understand the ‘rules’.
Difficulties of consistency
One of the biggest difficulties of consistent parenting is creating realistic rules in the first place. If you expect your toddler to remain silent for an entire hour-long car journey, for example, you’re going to have to U-turn on that very quickly most likely. Setting goals that are difficult to uphold is setting yourself up for a fall. You have to accept that kids are kids. You have to balance your wishes with the realistic truth of parenting a small child.
In addition, we all have busy lives and that makes it difficult to be consistent with toddlers. If you have them sometimes, whilst other times they go to nursery or to a childminder, friend or relative, there could be a real difference in the consistency of expectations of behaviour.
But even just at home, it is difficult to be consistent. Toddlers need to know that the rules are the same one day to the next. If they get away with something one day and not the next, you can’t blame them for being confused. However, your mood, your tiredness levels, your stress levels could all dictate what you think is acceptable from one day to the next. And then there are differences in parenting style between you and your partner.
You really need to work on creating consistent expectations across all areas of your child’s life with consistent parenting, which is much easier said than done.
When you have to make a U-turn
Sometimes you have to U-turn on some things. Just ask Kwasi Kwarteng. And the thing is, it’s good to show your child that you can admit mistakes and change course. Much better than ploughing on regardless. Whether this is snapping at a toddler for something that you have previously let them do or insisting on cutting taxes for the richest at a time when the country is in a financial crisis.
If you do need to make a U-turn, explain it to your child. Get down to their level, admit your mistake but don’t try and justify your behaviour. If you shouted because you were tired, that doesn’t take away the fact that it might have been confusing or scary for the child. Explain that everyone makes mistakes and the best thing to do is own them and work to make them better. It’s a great lesson for kids. And this is what the Chancellor will have to attempt to do now.