Now we are communicating more effectively, we are focusing on creating positive interactions, and we are able to use healthy conflict resolution to handle the bumps in the road…what’s next? The fourth pillar in creating a strong, healthy family is setting out consistent expectations and rules. Nothing sabotages mom and dad quicker than when the rules are always changing! Kids learn quickly to “work the system” and it can be hard to keep up!
Having difficulty keeping track of the rules is ok! It can be difficult to know which rules are important, which ones are not worth the battle, and sometimes even where to begin! Consistency is also imperative, as this reinforces the rules that have been set, and it can minimize challenging behaviors, as kids know what to expect. If kids know exactly where the bar is set, they are less likely to push the limits.
Using the healthy coping skills, communication and conflict resolution techniques learned in the beginning of therapy, we can work together to figure out what rules are important to you as a family, as well as choosing positive reinforcers for making positive choices and negative consequences for making negative choices. Having this clearly set out makes it easier for kids to make the right choice, is easier for parents to reinforce, and it takes the power struggle out of many common arguments.