Consistency is crucial in training both pups and kids to develop good habits and reach their full potential, as guide dogs and as human beings.

Let me kick this article off by introducing the first pup we raised. His name was Lennox and he was a Golden Retriever. He was a lovable caring boy, who loved having his photo taken and literally going out of his way to smell the flowers as you walked past gardens.

Lesson 2: Be Consistent

Many people ask why Guide Dogs predominantly use Labradors and Golden Retrievers as the chosen breed. One of the key reasons is they are quick to learn. This can be good, and it can have its drawbacks. Being quick to learn means the time and effort to teach a Lab is a lot less than other breeds, but it also means they learn bad habits very quickly. For this reason, consistency is key.

A lapse in what you allow the dog to do could result in some bad habits that last a lifetime and could be the reason a pup doesn’t make it to be a working guide dog. Can you just imagine a Guide Dog leading their client to work one morning, and then the next morning thinking a visit to the park would be much better?

Discipline

This is the same with raising kids. It is important that mum and dad are both on the same page and agree on what will be allowed. Make your “Yes” mean “Yes” and your “No” mean “No”. Kids (as do dogs) learn from a young age how to play parents off against one another when there is a lack of consistency.

With all our pups, we trained them to go to their bed when we ate dinner. That way they were not near the table while we were eating, and as such have never been fed from the dinner table and don’t expect to be.

That habit was built through the consistency of getting the dog to go to its bed when we sat down at the table. Our pet dog, Chance, now goes to his bed as soon as we sit down and say grace. He doesn’t have to be told.

It is the same with kids. As it says in Proverbs 22:6 ~

Train up a child in the way he should go,
And even when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Avoid giving second and third chances for stopping bad behaviour. When you do this and finally penalise the child for doing something wrong, then they can become resentful and become unsure of what is right and what is not.

When there is more than one child in the family, consistency is paramount. Yes, there are some age-appropriate rules such as bedtime, but the general rules should be the same. When there is one rule for one kid and a different rule for another, then resentment will most likely occur between the kids and parents.

In our family, we ensured we were consistent in things like, what TV programs and movies were acceptable to watch, how much TV could be watched, whose places our kids could visit (we really had to know the family and the environment they were going into), the type of words we used and portraying good manners both in the family and around others.

So, what can you do?

Why don’t you and your wife arrange someone to look after the kids and go on a date night? On this date night, agree what are the non-negotiables in the family and then commit to be consistent with those

There will be times when you slip up, but don’t be too hard on yourself. We all make mistakes. It is not the mistakes that are the issue — it is how we recover and move on from the mistakes, that is key.

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Photo by Rodnae Productions from Pexels.

About the Author: Jeff Boundy

Jeff Boundy has been married to Christine for over 40 years and they have three wonderful adult children. Soon after his salvation in 1990, he became a lay preacher and got involved in Children’s Ministry (serving on the NSW Uniting Church Synod Task force for Children’s Ministry). In 2003, they connected with Randy and Lisa Wilson in Colorado Springs (Generations of Light Ministries), who conducted an annual Father-Daughter Purity Ball. Over the decades, Jeff Boundy has been actively involved in men’s ministry and assisted in youth ministry in the churches he has attended. Jeff is passionate for men to take their rightful place as servant leaders for their families, setting the example of how God is a father to us. He believes the family unit is the cornerstone of society and strong families create strong communities. He says, “When a father's love is tangible within a family, the kids grow up feeling loved and not searching for love in other places. We all have this same desire to be loved and when we ourselves experience the pure love of God, we men can model this same unconditional love to our wife and kids. All children of this world deserve to fulfil their God-given destiny, and the best foundation for that is through a strong family unit with a loving dad at the head.”

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