The Importance of Following Through


Waking your kid up for school can be a nightmare.

He sleeps in until the last minute. Over breakfast, he fights to stay awake. He’s late to school because he’s “too tired to go.” The whole day starts off on the wrong foot!

Exasperated, you try to set limits…

“From now on, bedtime starts an hour earlier. That means you’re in bed, with no electronics, by 9pm.”

Fast forward to the evening and dinner is done, all the dishes are put away and you just got off the phone with your sister. It’s 9:30pm, and the last thing on your mind is enforcing limits.

The next morning, your son wakes up late again–the cycle continues. Frustrated at your lack of follow-through, you can’t help but wonder: Will I ever get better at this?

Here at Empowering Parents, we believe that with patience and consistent practice, any parent can change at any time. If you’re struggling with following through on limits and consequences, there’s no time like the present to get better. You can do this!

When you follow through, your child learns they can trust you to do what you say you’re going to do – this helps boost your authority and establish safe, healthy boundaries.

Start by making a commitment to your child. If you didn’t do something the way you feel you should have, it’s okay to say that. Remember, you’re role-modeling accountability, not “admitting defeat.”

In the case of the earlier scenario, you could say something like this:

“We said bedtime is at 9pm, but that didn’t happen last night. Tonight we’re going to stick to it and I can help you with that.”

If you don’t follow through with your limits and give in, a child is going to be more insistent on pushing boundaries because of the one time (or many times) they were able to get their way. Another downside to not following through is that eventually, kids will stop believing what you tell them.

We all know someone who means well, but doesn’t follow through. You might run into them at the grocery store and they say, “let’s get dinner soon!” or, “let’s catch up over coffee!” Yet they never follow through with these plans. The end result is that you lose faith in their intentions.

Remember, actions speak louder than words. Pick one area to focus on and do what you say you will do. Even if you’ve struggled with follow-through in the past, you can start practicing today and still see results.

Interested in learning more about parenting consistency and follow-through? Take a look at Consistent Parenting: How to Unlock the Secret.

We’re right here when you need us. Keep in touch!

Talk soon,

Denise R., Empowering Parents Coach

“Your child needs a parent to structure his life and set limits on him, because he’s a kid – not a little adult.” – James Lehman, MSW


Denise Rowden is a parent of two adult children and has been a parenting coach since 2011. She has worked in Special Education, Alternative Education and adolescent group homes. She has a BS in Psychology from the University of Southern Maine and is currently working on her Life Coach certification from the International Coach Federation.

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