Parenting can be like driving a car down the road.
On the Parenting Road* the center two lanes are where we want to be.
They are patient, matter-of-fact places. We accept that children will mess up. We expect that with help and firm consequences they will do better the next time. We match rules with what the child can handle given his age and maturity.
On the Parenting Road* we want to stay off of the too-far left and too-far right parts of the road.
When we don’t insist on consequences for breaking rules, we are on the berm. It’s a bumpy, dangerous place to be. Too-far right.
When we use rules and consequences that are too old and not right for here and now or right for the age and maturity of our children, we are stuck in a ditch – an even more dangerous place to be – at a complete stop and not able to get anywhere as a parent. Too-far left.
*From Growing Up Again, Jean Illsley Clarke, et al.