The key to success in any parenting is consistency.  If you can maintain consistency in your approach over a set period of time (which the length of that time often is directly correlated to how strong willed your child or teen may be), you communicate that you are not moving and thus they begin to move in the ways they need to.  In fact, children crave this consistency as it provides an anchor for them in their lives.  They can always count on you to have a certain response to any given situation.  They will inevitably (maybe many years down the road) look back on it and see the love that you were expressing to them through it, though now they may on be annoyed or angry about it.

            Now of course if you are being consistent in bad parenting techniques, then that will not work either.  Children need a secure and safe place to explore the world from.  They need unconditional love.  They also need boundaries.  First try to catch them doing good and praise that.  Children respond much quicker to positive reinforcement and will begin to exhibit those positive behaviors more as they see that they get your attention.

            Discipline is about teaching, not always punishing.  But at times a part of loving your child is to use negative reinforcement them.  Whether it is removal of privileges, timeout, ignoring, etc.; the techniques you use must be used consistently.  If you say you are going to do something, do it.  If you are going to withhold a cell phone for a week, keep it for a week.  If you are doing 2 minutes of timeout,  set out a timer.  Make sure your consequence is age appropriate and use it consistently.  It is especially important for married couples to be on the same page when it comes to parenting so that both can be consistent with what the other is doing.


For more information on parenting techniques or if you have any questions about counseling in general, please contact Nathan and Amy Oliver at