Honesty Time: I’m flakey AF.
Am I allowed to say that? Whatever, I’m saying it.
I straight up SUCK at consistency.
Between my own lack of executive functioning, my chronic health struggles, and the fact that I’m an Autistic adult raising 6 neurodivergent kids with my ADHD partner, pretty much nothing in my life is “consistent”.
Oh, and in case you haven’t noticed, we’re in the middle of a global freaking pandemic. So that isn’t helping any of us stay consistent.
But every parenting book and resource out there constantly talks about how important it is to be “consistent”.
You need clear and consistent boundaries. If you let them get away with that one time you’ll lose all your progress. You need consistent routines so they know what to expect.
So if you’ve ever read that advice and thought “well I’m doomed”, you aren’t alone. I’m right there with you.
And I’m here to tell you that it’s okay to suck at consistency as a parent. And yes, even as the parent of an Autistic child.
Pssst: Want help creating a parent-advocate plan that’s unique to your child and family? Sign up here for the FREE Autism Journey Workshop!!
3 Reasons It’s Totally Okay to Suck at Consistency
Now, I want to be honest and say that I know that often times our Autistic children thrive on routines and same-ness.
So there are some things that will be a lot easier if we can stay consistent.
Like if your kid always gets the red cup, we can totally keep giving him the red cup. No biggie, right?
But most of us struggle with consistency when it comes to holding to boundaries, expectations, or dealing with behavior.
- Sometimes we don’t have enough energy to follow through with our original plan.
- Sometimes we totally get where our kid is coming from and don’t feel like pushing the issue.
- Sometimes we realize our plan didn’t make sense in the first place and we need to reconsider.
Those are all super valid examples of being “inconsistent” in your parenting, but I don’t think that means they’re the wrong decision.
So let’s take a look at 3 specific reasons that I feel like it’s totally okay to suck at consistency as a parent-advocate.
#1 You Are Empathetic
One of my biggest values in parenting is treating my children like the humans they are.
And that means that I empathize with them as humans.
- Sometimes I’m exhausted and don’t want to do my chores.
- Sometimes I’m in a cranky mood and I don’t use the kindest words when talking to people.
- Sometimes I just need a lazy day and I don’t really want to do anything.
So just like I am flexible with myself in those situations, I also try to stay flexible with my kids in those situations.
Here’s a quick example: My two oldest kids recently came home from visiting my ex for the summer.
So we dropped just about every boundary and expectation we had for them because we knew that it’s really hard to transition from one home to another.
Why would I prioritize staying “consistent” over empathizing and seeing why it’s hard for my kid to meet certain expectations and letting go for a little while?
#2 You Are a Grown Up
Here’s the deal: I fully believe that you are grown up enough to make judgment calls in your parenting.
You are able to take situations case by case, and prioritize handling the situation with logic rather than arbitrarily staying “consistent” no matter the circumstances.
You know when your child is exhausted or just not feeling like themselves, or when things have been hectic and everyone just needs a break.
But you also know when your expectations are reasonable and you should be focusing on helping your child meet the expectation instead of dropping it.
Instead of focusing on staying consistent all the time, build a habit of asking yourself “what is the most important thing in this interaction?”
#3 You Are a Human
If I’m being super honest, this is the #1 reason I struggle with consistency.
I am human. And a pretty imperfect human at that.
Between my own sensory overload, my chronic migraines, and my other health disorders, there are days I just don’t have it in me to stay consistent.
But just like I empathize with my children as humans, I have to empathize with myself as a human.
And friend, I want you to empathize with yourself as a human too.
Because the truth is, we are all just humans doing our best to raise the next generation of humans.
That means that sometimes we’re not going to get it 100% right 100% of the time and we’re going to be inconsistent.
But here’s the good news! Our kids are also imperfect humans who will likely struggle with the same exact things that we do when they’re adults.
So you are doing your part by showing your kids what it looks like to try our best and still be a bit inconsistent. And that lesson is worth a thousand “clear and consistent boundaries” if you ask me.
Truth is, Effective Parenting Isn’t About Consistency
If it was, there’s no way in HECK I’d be able to say I’m a parent-coach with a straight face.
Effective parenting, especially when you’re parenting an Autistic child, really boils down to three things:
- Accommodate your child so they feel safe and regulated
- Balance with “real life” like boundaries, routines, and behavior plans
- Create change through effective advocacy and self-advocacy
And lucky for you, I am hosting a FREE workshop starting August 30th that is going to help you create a Parent-Advocate Plan that will help you do just that.
(PS: My parent-advocate plan definitely doesn’t require consistency, in case this blog post didn’t already convince you of that!)
>> Click here to reserve your spot! <<
In this 4-day workshop, I’ll be walking you step by step through:
- Strategies to be the calm in the storm and manage meltdowns without sacrificing your sanity (and ways to reduce their frequency and intensity)
- Techniques to reduce demands on your child without increasing the demand on you (and how to tell if you’re accommodating vs. coddling)
- Tools for dealing with unavoidable boundaries (featuring topics like electronics, rigidity, aggression, and more)
- The path towards advocacy with schools and therapists (and how you can set a stellar example, so your child learns to advocate for themselves)
- Autism myths your child’s team taught you (vs. what’s actually possible for Autistics today)
- The Autism Journey Roadmap, so you can identify which stages your child is in, and create a custom Parent-Advocate Plan to help you navigate through it.
We start August 30th… Click here to reserve your spot for free!