Have you ever gone to your friend’s house and seen a long list on their fridge? When you ask them what it is, they say, “It’s the rules of the house that our kids must follow”.
It’s times like this that make me wonder, how on Earth do they remember which kid broke what rule and what that consequence was that was given.
Most days I’m going to work without putting deodorant on because I forgot.
When I first moved into the house with my husband and two stepdaughters, I was one of those people that had that long list of rules.
However, there was no list on the fridge because my memory was pretty good at the time.
But, of course, I know there were consequences that I let slide and rules that I let be broken because I forgot.
After a while my husband did write up contracts with each girl. In it was mostly about curfew, what happened when they broke a rule, or something about electronics.
Do you think they ever read it? Probably not.
Why read something when we would let them know when they fucked up anyway? I get it.
Maybe it’s just old age or the tiredness of it all but as I’m doing some research on this topic, I wish there were no rules. I think every parent wishes this.
If every kid just did what they were supposed to do. If they didn’t you would just talk to them about it and they would understand and it would never happen again.
Yes, I know, I’m in La La Land. Okay, back to reality.
If you are a parent that doesn’t want their children to have rules but want them to grow up to be well respected adults, here are 5 main guidelines that I feel they should follow.
This is one of the easiest things to loose but the hardest to gain next to trust. They should respect their elders, friends, family, and most importantly you.
Tell the truth
If you are constantly being lied to by your child, you will constantly thinking that anything that comes out of their mouth is a lie.
This is one rule that we will always have in our home. The consequence for lying is going to be way worse than if you just told us the truth.
I have asked a couple of teenagers on why they lie and here is what I found out. They are afraid to get in trouble or that their siblings will get into trouble, and afraid that you will be disappointed in them for what they did.
And they are afraid to get yelled at.
Now I know that telling them the consequence for lying is going to be way worse than if you just told us the truth right away, is a waste of breathe. I know this because we have said this over and over again with our two girls.
I think as parents we forget one key element when it comes to this. Letting them know what that other lesser consequence would have been.
We always say what the greater consequence is but next time try mentioning the lesser one.
And when they do tell you the truth about something, yes you may get really pissed off but remember you want them to tell you the truth, mention what the greater consequence would have been.
Keep a safe and clean home
This means no stealing from each other and respecting each other’s things.
Pick up after yourself. Nobody likes living with a slob. Pick up your own toys and shoes. If something sits someplace it shouldn’t for so many days, it’s now the property of the house.
When the girls were younger we had a big tub that everything went into. If you wanted to get it back then you had to pay a quarter for each item you wanted back. If it stayed in the tub for so long then it would go to Goodwill.
Be kind and helpful
Be king to one another. If you see someone struggling with groceries or fixing a broken toy, ask if they need assistance.
They may not always need your help but it’s always nice to be offered the help.
Use please and thank you
One thing that others will notice about your children is if they say their please and thank you’s without being told by an adult. Teach them this at a young age.
So there you have it, the top 5 guidelines all children should have in any home.
Here are a few rules extra rules that we have in our house. Some of them are for when your children are a little bit older as well. Some of them may coincide with the five above.
Having boys in the house when we are not home
As I stated above, we have two daughters and our oldest daughter has a lot of male friends that she hangs out with. So as worried parents of a teenage daughter we made this rule.
As long as we were not home, then those male friends could not be at our house. As she is getting older and gaining our trust more on the subject, we now base it on situational.
Such as, if we know we are going to home within the hour, it is okay to have those friends over.
Drinking and driving
You remember when you were younger going to parties, drinking, and driving home. I know I do.
Most kids are going to do at least once. I know that not all teens drink or do drugs and those teens are smart not to but most will at least try it in high school.
Keeping them from going to a party is a bad idea because then this will lead to lying on what they are doing that night. And you definitely don’t want that.
So the rule here is to let them know if they are drinking to call you and you will come get them. The only exception to the rule is if they are staying at that friend’s house that night or if they have a sober cab home.
You should let know to also not get in a car with a friend that has been drinking either.
Every kid should have some kind of chores around the house, whether it is emptying the dishwasher, cleaning their room, mowing the lawn/shoveling snow, or picking up sticks.
Of course no kid likes to do chores, sign up below to learn more about some fun ways to get your kids/teens to do chores.
Going to friends, have to ask
I feel that this is pretty self-explanatory. If your kids want to go to their friends, they have to ask.
One thing that always drove me nuts is when they would go to their friends and then the next day when you had plans they would call you up and ask when you are coming to get them.
Ummmmm. And you don’t want to inconvenience the other parent either.
At our house, if you wanted to go to a friend’s house you had to have all the details right away or the answer was no.
- Where are you going?
- How are you getting there?
- When are you leaving?
- How are you getting home and what time?
Honesty goes hand in hand with truth. Be truthful and honest with us and you are pretty much in the clear.
My oldest stepdaughter catches me off guard sometimes when she is brutally honest.
I’ll ask her if she disobeyed one of the rules and she will say yes I did without even flinching. As a parent, this is something that is much unexpected.
I feel that she tells the truth now when asked because she lied once and got punished severely for it.
Must ask before you borrow
If you have a thief in your home that is doing it more than once even after being talked to, I would look at the underlying issue being a little more severe such as drugs.
I know that no parent wants to think that their child would take that route but the world is an evil place.
There are many temptations that kids have even more so that what we did when we were their age. Asking to borrow anything shows a sign of respect for that other person.
Do your homework
Complete your homework, plain and simple. This is the one job that they have to do. If you need help, we are always there for them but we can’t help if they don’t ask.
This ties in with keeping a safe and clean home. Their room should also be clean.
The one thing I hate the most is if I have company over and they want a tour of the house, opening a door to a tornado is not ideal.
You are at a party or a friend’s house and it’s almost your curfew so you jump in your car and speed home just to make it on time so you don’t get grounded or yelled at.
I know that this is one topic that many people can disagree on. We do give our daughters a curfew when they are younger but once our oldest got her license that changed.
The reason being is because she has proven to us that she can be responsible and we don’t want her racing home just so that she doesn’t break curfew.
Before she goes out for the night she will let us know what time she will be home that night. If we don’t agree then we will negotiate a time.
If she is going to be later than that time then she must let us know. This also works both ways.
We also let them know when we will be home and if we are going to be later.
This is becoming a huge deal in today’s society.
This subject could have a post just for itself but I’m going to touch on it just a little bit and tell you a couple of rules that our teens have.
- No phones at the dinner table.
This includes when out to eat as well as at home. This is a special time to spend with them and you get to hear about their day, especially when your kids are older and are in extra circular activities or work.
- No phones at bedtime.
We have a charging station where they can turn their electronics off and charge them overnight.
This gives them uninterrupted sleep from friends texting or snap chatting in the middle of the night. It’s also not good to be looking at that screen right before bedtime either.
Don’t fix all of their mistakes
The only way that they are going to learn from mistakes is if you let them make them and fix what went wrong.
You are not always going to be there for them. They need to learn to live without you. That’s the Cold hard truth.
In our home, we are always open for discussion.
If they don’t think that a rule is relevant anymore or want it changed, they know that they can come to us and we will have a discussion about it.
No, it doesn’t always mean that the rule will be changed or removed but possibly. It depends on what their rebuttal is and why they think it should be changed.
There are times where we will agree to not have a certain rule but if it starts to become an issue in the future than we may have to bring that rule back into play.
Everything is negotiable.
When creating rules in your home, I will leave you with a few thoughts on coming up with rules and negotiating with your kids on what those rules should be.
- Consequences should be relevant to the rule
- Be consistent with the rules and consequences
- Be open to discussions
- Try to be open-minded and listen
- Write up contract if teenager is being difficult
- Have clearly defined rules that apply to all teens regardless of gender
Every child wants to be heard and respected just like us.
Keeping an open mind to their ideas and listening to what they have to say shows that you care what they think and how they feel.
Of course, not every situation is going to end up the same but working with them instead of against them will bring you closer together.