The Importance of Following Through

Posted October 29, 2015 by

Photo of denise-rowden

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!


“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, creator of The Total Transformation


Denise Rowden is a parent of two teens: an 18-year-old daughter and a 19-year-old son. 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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  1. Encontrol Report

    Thank you so much for the post.  I am experiencing this at this very moment!  Your post was just in time.  Thank You again.

  2. Jeri Report

    Re: the article, “Waking Your Kid Up” that’s your 1st mistake! When mine started Kindergarten, along with the new clothes, lunch box and crayons, there was an alarm clock (yes, this was 50 years ago!).. I made getting up the child’s responsibility. The 1st time the school bus was missed, I did not hop in the car to take them to school! Instead, I “allowed” them to go back to bed.. By noon, when they were “ready to get up” I, lovingly and gently, reminded them of how tired they must have been and how much they needed their rest, so they should remain in bed (with books, only!) and maybe they’ed be rested enough by tomorrow. Each of the 3 kids only needed to do this once!

  3. Jillian1979alyssa2004 Report

    My daughter is not even 12 until January my husband disagrees with everything I say from homework to what she should be allowed to do with her friend, at what I feel is such a young age. She hears us disagreeing on this and knows how to play us. I tried to put my foot down but I lose every time she is an only child I feel this plays into it. How do I get him to see things my way. Or at least meet me halfway

    • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

      I’m sorry to hear you and your husband are facing these
      struggles. It may help to know that it’s actually quite common for parents to
      disagree. You’re two different people from two different backgrounds, so, it’s
      not surprising you would have different ideas about how things should be done.
      Truthfully, it’s not the disagreeing that causes the most issues – it’s when
      you disagree in front of your child that things can become difficult. It may be
      helpful to talk with your husband at a calm time when your daughter isn’t
      present and try to find one thing you can both agree upon to start with. It
      could be something as basic as you both agree you want your daughter to be
      successful in school. The goal here is to try and find some common ground. You
      may find it helpful to enlist the aid of a neutral third party in this
      endeavor, like a marriage or family counselor. The 211 Helpline would be able
      to give you information on counselors, therapists, and other resources in your
      area. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-273-6222 or by
      visiting them online at Good luck to you and your family moving
      forward. Take care.

  4. AditiJh Report

    Being a single parent, I am having a tough time raising my two adolescent children. My son, 15 years old has been getting low marks ever since we were in the situation of getting separated. Now, he has completely immersed himself into a handful of electronic gadgets which he will not let go even during bedtime. All he wants is not to do his homework, sleep excessively, doesn’t want to wake up until the last moment for the school and even doesn’t want to take a shower for days together. My daughter, 12 years is having attraction towards the opposite gender. Though this is not having any negative impact on her studies, but leaves me worried. Being occupied with the responsibility of making ends meet, I am left with not much time that I can spend with both of them. Please help me to come out of this stressful situation!! Please..

    • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

      As a single parent myself, I can understand the challenges
      you are facing. It can be tough when it’s up to you to manage everything and
      everyone on your own. It may be helpful to focus on one or two things at a
      time. Trying to address everything at once can be overwhelming. You might also
      check out this article by Debbie Pincus: In it she offers
      some great tips for dealing with some of the tough situations many single
      parents face. Good luck to you and your family moving forward. Be sure to check
      back if you have any further questions. Take care.

  5. FairyDragon Report

    What to do if the child has insomnia? She has no electrics or phones in her room. but her sleeping patten might be 11PM-3AM

    • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

      You ask a great question. It would probably be beneficial to
      have her seen by her doctor or primary care provider. A medical professional
      would be able to rule out any possible underlying issues that may be having an
      effect on your daughter’s sleep schedule. S/he would also be able to offer
      possible solutions for dealing with her lack of sleep. We appreciate you
      writing in and wish you the best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  6. Twinluck Report

    My son is also 15 6’2 and did not go to school today…….So it says to be consistent I’ve been consistent since he was little and it’s getting worse what do we do?
    By the way he’s ODD 🙂

    • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

      You bring up an interesting point. Many parents are unsure
      of what to do when it seems as though nothing they do to hold their child
      accountable is changing his behavior. You’re definitely not alone in your
      frustration. Something that may be helpful to know is that, as parents, your
      job is to set expectations and implement consequences when those expectations
      aren’t met. You can talk with your child about his choices and problem solve
      ways he can make better choices in the future. Being consistent in all of these
      things is going to be the most effective way of addressing your child’s
      behavior and also motivating change.  However, only your son can decide
      whether or not he’s going to start making different choices. We do have a few
      articles about what steps you can take when your child refuses to go to school.
      One article in particular you may find helpful is We
      appreciate you writing in. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are
      going. Take care.

  7. Carolynlsnow Report

    I have guardianship of my 15 yo niece, she’s been diagnosed with PTS, ADHA, ODD,and RAD to mention a few. I’ve been unsusseful thus far with her being accountable and taking responsibility for her actions, some or verbally abusive with physical threats and property damage. She see Pyshciatrist monthly and counciling weekly for the past 9 years takes a cup of meds……now she failing and not attending classes her freshman year. I do have the Total Transformation program….. She lived with no privileges and entertains herself contently…….any suggestions

  8. MFMVT Report

    Just found out g~son did not pass last term of English. Never saw Anything from the school telling us of this.Now I find out his math is down the drain. He is A D H and has Austism. He was taken off his I E P in 3rd grade , we were told that we could get him back on it if need be.
    Well it’ s been almost 6 years and still no I E P. ” the school had a meeting ” that I called for 6 weeks ago , had meeting ,told next meeting would be in 3 to 4 weeks. This has not happened and I have asked the school I would say over 8 to 10 times to get this going. Now we have lost another term of his school year. He will be going to High School next year we hope.
    What should We do? Time is running out on my g~son.

    • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

      I am so sorry to hear you are facing these struggles trying
      to get your grandson the services he needs. If you are having a tough time
      getting the school to follow through and schedule an IEP meeting, you might
      consider talking with your district superintendent or district special
      education director. Another option might be contacting your state Department of
      Education and requesting an educational advocate to help you and your son
      through what can sometimes be a challenging process of re-qualifying a child
      for Special Education services. Be sure to check back and let us know how
      things are going. Take care.

    • KD special kids Report

      If you do not ask for an IEP or an assessment in writing. Don’t forget to keep a copy for yourself. I’m not sue the school is obligated to comply. Check out your local family/patent resource center for support. There are some sample letters to request assessments/IEP’s online. Good luck to you.

  9. terrahughes Report

    I thankfully don’t have this problem, my 16yr old son gets up at 6am every morning to get ready for school. Once the alarm goes off, he is up and in the shower and ready and is able to watch TV for 1/2 hour before he leaves for school, and on his own doing the TV show that he watches is the country music channel. He finds that it helps himself concentrate more in school by listening to relaxing music before he leaves, instead of watching the news, crime show, etc. He started doing this a couple of weeks ago and he has been getting a lot better marks in school.

  10. Janice Report

    How can you get a child to take resonsibility for school. My grandson will not attend. He has already missed all time allowed for the year. He is 15 years old.

    • terrahughes Report

      My 18yr old son was the same way, and I found out by my own sources that he was having trouble in school in his classes and also that he was being pressured by other kids… I had a few chats with him and he now goes and realizes (with a lot of help from me talking to him and his school) that he needs his education.



    • TanyaW Report

      Call the truant officer for help. My mom had to do that for my younger brother when we were growing up. Truant officers will help you if you ask. Either way make sure your grandson knows he’s risking jail time and fines as well as a lawsuit from the school district for both of you depending on your state. Also he’s setting himself up for failure in life and the possibility of being put into the foster system. Again, this depends on your state. It may wake him up.

    • Empowering Parents Coach drowden Report

      You ask a great question and it’s one many parents and
      grandparents have asked. Most kids and teens struggle with responsibility and
      accountability. It’s not uncommon for a teen to take great measures in an
      attempt to avoid taking responsibility for himself and his actions. The best way
      to help a child learn how to take accountability and be responsible for his
      choices is by holding him accountable for those choices. The situation you
      describe has many natural consequences already attached to it – your grandson
      probably won’t pass this school year and will need to make up the work at some
      point. This means he may have to go to school for a longer time or double up on
      classes and take night courses in addition to his regular high school courses.
      There’s also the possibility that the truancy officer or other legal
      professionals could get involved. Parents can also implement consequences for
      not attending school. For example, he might not have access to his electronics
      privileges on days he doesn’t attend school. We have a great article that offers
      tips for what parents can do when their child refuses to go to school: We
      appreciate you writing in and wish you the best of luck moving forward. Take

    • KD special kids Report

      Taking away electronics is a great motivator. If you get proof that he attended school all day, he earns his electronics. No proof, no electronics. There are many priveleges that our kiddos are not entitled to that can be earned. My 10 year old just broke his eyeglass frame because he didn’t want to do his homework tonight. Threw tantrum for 45 minutes. An hour later, he did his homework. He earned his electronics. Tomorrow I will duck tape his frame together and he will wear his glasses like that until he completes $50 worth of chores to purchase a new frame. That’s his natural consequence and restitution for breaking glasses. I could have not given him his electronics for breaking glasses but can you understand that this would have been confusing and unproductive? One thing at a time. Pick your battles and be good to yourself. I hope this helps. Is your g son refusing to get up in the morning? Is he staying at home all day? What is he doing instead of school? When these children can overpower us physically, it can get tricky. There is help out there. Look for local parent and family resource centers. Attend a parent/kinship support group. You are not alone. Good luck.



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