For When We’ve Been Inconsistent in Discipline

By October 10, 2012General

This post was written by contributor Lara Williams.

Confession. Lately, we haven’t been consistent in discipline. And it’s caused…mayhem. OK, maybe that’s a strong word but really, our kids seem whiny-er and less obedient. Meanwhile we’re more frustrated and short-tempered. It’s felt messy.

But because God is awesome and love and wants what’s best for our family, He faithfully convicted my husband and I. He challenged us to get on the same page and start fresh. Because (just like alllll the books teach) consistency in parenting nurtures safety and trust in the home. And safety and trust breeds greater obedience.


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So here are a few questions God posed to our spirits for us to consider with Him.


What’s distracting you?

Often, lack of consistency births from living distracted. *Ahem.* Distractions invade. From emails to texts to phone calls to to-do lists — it’s so easy to lose perspective.

The solution to living distracted lives: pray that God would reveal distractions and then set clear boundaries. Also, restate priorities.


What’s going to be the most effective discipline strategy for your family?

I fail at charts. Seriously. I forget to add stickers or give that gold coin, hence inconsistency. Then my husband may go a totally different discipline route once he gets home from work, which means inconsistency between us as parents.

So we decided to use “currency.” Without any warnings, we simply impose or take away the thing (the currency) that most irritates each individual child at the moment of offense. There’s no hollering or negotiating. Just quick, reasonable, natural consequence to their behavior…all in love.

The solution to inconsistency: Determine in prayer what will be the primary discipline strategy in your home and, through His empowering, stick with it.


Who’s the One who ultimately opens their hearts to My ways?

I’ve written about this before, but we as parents will fail. We aren’t going to do it perfectly. So we simply confess and rest in God’s faithful forgiveness. Then we move forward in grace.

His grace doesn’t give us license to sin as parents. But it does relieve the pressure we often place upon ourselves to be a perfect mom. We won’t be. We can’t be. But thankfully our kids’ transformation into Christ followers doesn’t rest on our shoulders. He’s the One who opens eyes and moves hearts. Our call is to train (imperfectly) and believe Him to complete the work He begins.

The solution to guilt and unbelief: Make a list of Scriptures that point to God as the forgiver and the soul-healer. Repeat and believe when tempted to lay in a pool of guilt. Pray in faith for the salvation of our children.

To create the home environment that my husband and I want, we needed a revamping. We needed to get on the same discipline page and purposefully set boundaries on the things that can distract.

Then after we imperfectly follow through with the things God has led us to do, we keep on resting and resting in His great, matchless grace.

How goes your discipline strategy? Click here to chat about it in the comments.

About Lara
Speaker and writer, Lara Williams lives in central North Carolina with her husband and three young children. Click here to check out her blog.

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  • Avatar maddalena70 says:

    And when the mom is alone to disciple? When her d.h. is never home and when he is in he is distracted and to hard ith the girls losing often his temper? When the mom is the only one that truly has faith and would like to rule her home by His word?

    • Oh sister, I hear your frustration. It can be a weary road at times. And I don’t say that lightly. I say it as one who has walked deep valleys in my own marriage. Truth is, we can’t change anyone. And even changing ourselves is impossible when left to us. I love that passage in Isaiah 40:30-31. “Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength.” That word “wait” means to bind. Only when we bind desperately to the source of strength do we soar like eagles. Praying right now for you. In Christ you are light in your home. Praying He gives great wisdom and supernatural endurance. When He calls us to a task (or relationship), He equips us for that task. Many blessings in Him.

  • I needed to read this today… Consistency is something I struggle with because I’m often just too tired to deal with stuff. I can’t use that as an excuse though. Thanks for the reminder.

    • I know what you mean about being tired. Being physically weary absolutely affects our response in life. Praying you have His wisdom to know if there’s something you could set aside in order to get physical rest. Many blessings in Him, Jenni.

  • Avatar Kat Lee says:

    “Then after we imperfectly follow through with the things God has led us to do, we keep on resting and resting in His great, matchless grace.”

    Oh….that’s SO good Lara! I can set such high standards for myself (and too often, my children) I must remind myself that it’s His grace and not my works that bring about His glory…

  • Avatar Lynn says:

    Maddalena, When mom is alone to disciple and discipline, she should be abiding in Christ and nurturing her relationship with Him in prayer and by being in the word daily. She should do her best to discipline with love and consistancy, regardless of what her husband does. She should model His grace and truth to her husband in her dealings with her girls. My husband is not a believer either-so it becomes even more important for ME to bring my children to church, to teach them all day long (Deut. 6) about Him, to model Christ like behavior to my husband and my children, to be on my knees for my husband and my children, and to rest in His promises.

  • Avatar Crystal says:

    This is really encouraging. Thank you.

  • Avatar Laura says:

    Definitely been there. With 3 kids & a husband that works alot of hours, consistency with discipline is so hard. Especially when everyone is tired, hungry, etc. We do the same as far as :”currency”. Sometimes that’s easier said than done. My oldest daughter doens’t mind much of anything being taken away from her – she has always been that way. Disciplining her is much harder. For my son, it’s tv or computer – that does the trick. For our youngest daughter, time away from everyone works best. It’s always trying things out, seeing how they work, & then sometimes going back to the drawing board! They (the kids) are all so different – keeps us on our toes!

  • Avatar Kirsten says:

    Just wanted to share what I tweaked a little for myself personally about the solution to distraction and wrote in big letters in my journal: “Pray that God would reveal distractions and then… OBEY. Re-state priorities and….OBEY.” Thought that would give some of you a smile 🙂 So good, Lara- thank you!! Now off to figure out a little more about currency, and how I can use that while still communicating to my kids that I am “for” them…I know my tone of voice, body language and the words I use make a huge difference.

  • Avatar Sharon says:

    I’d love to see a post on what to do when you and your husband are not on the same page as to HOW to discipline. Ie one of you wants to spank as needed, the other doesn’t. We’ve gone round and round and have not been able to come to agreement.

  • Avatar dawn says:

    Wow…..i need to read this several times. Good stuff! I was just saying today how we lack consistency and it’s chaotic in our home and too many distractions. Thank you for the reminder!

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