If I could go back in time, I would be much more consistent. I tried hard, really, really hard. But with my youngest son, it seemed such an elusive concept. I would do great for a week, and boy was the proof in the pudding, but then I would start to feel bad. I would feel like I was nit-picking his every move, so I would begin to let little things slide. Lo and behold his behavior would decline.
I think when you have an impetuous kid it can become really hard to decide when they are really crossing a line. Did he just need to be redirected, or is this a punishable offence, which brings us back to the whole to punish or not punish dilemma. Parenting is a constant barrage of questions to be answered and decisions to be made. I think the best we can do is show them unconditional love, teach by example, and hold them accountable to the best of our ability.
But yeah, if I could go back in time, I would make some changes, tweak a few things. I would probably keep a list of rules on the wall not only as a reminder for them but for me as well. I would work harder at being consistent so that his teen years might have been easier on us all. And even though, I believe in offering up grace, I think that would just mean being understanding or giving a lesser consequence-not getting rid of the consequence all together. So my advice is to keep them accountable, offer love and support. Let them know it is okay to make mistakes-we all do- but there are still going to be consequences involved.