Everyone has house rules but how many people actually allow the children to remind their parents of the house rules if they aren’t following them?
In my house the house rules are universal, which means they apply to everyone residing in the house and any guests we have. When someone doesn’t comply with the house rules, you get to remind them. Whether you’re a child reminding an adult guest or a sibling reminding a parent, you get to remind people when these precious rules are not being followed.
Nothing makes it easier to follow rules then when your toddler reminds you, “Mommy, no yelling. You’re hurting my feelings. You need to say sorry.” Yes, my daughter was doing this at three years old. The great thing about this tactic is my son and daughter will remind me of my volume of voice before it gets out of control. It basically prevents the problem from escalating into an inappropriate situation. This is obviously your priority and not your child’s but a lot is learned when they are able to hold their parents accountable for their actions.
Of course, as you proceed with this wonderful process breaking a house rule won’t be something you need reminders on very often. Or at all, that’s the goal to work towards.
You won’t believe the confidence, excitement, and respect your child exerts when you allow him to remind an adult of a rule he gets reminded of all the time. It shows them that, morally, you and him are on the same playing field.
I have done it both ways. I have played the “my house my rules” game. I used to tell them “I’m queen of the castle.” Point blank, it doesn’t work. Not even a little. Allowing them to have say in the house rules and making them completely universal works much better.
Here is a list of a few of our House Rules:
- A) No Use of Physical Force (You own your body and therefore no one gets to touch it in any way without consent)
- B) No Yelling
- C) No Lying/Always be honest
- D) No being destructive/Respect each others property
- E) Take responsibility for your actions
- F) Be safe
- G) Work things out using peaceful communication
- H) Clean up after yourself
- I) Do the right thing, no matter what
- J) No Toys at the Dinner Table (Yes, that means Mommy and Daddy aren’t allowed on their phones or tablets at the dinner table)
- K) Us your manners
- L) Don’t interrupt someone while they are talking
- M) No ignoring people (when someone says something to you, you should respond. If you don’t feel like talking, be honest and say so.)
- N) Be patient
- O) Respect one’s request for space (If you need a minute to calm down, or they do, you should be able to be left alone. Requesting space does not replace the conversation. It allows the conversation to be rational.)
If you take the time to converse with your children about what should be considered a house rule, they will quickly concede to follow them, without any force or manipulation. This doesn’t mean that they won’t need any reminders (they will need plenty of reminders). However, this works better than house rules that are simply imposed on children. Instead of hypocritical demands, your family has a mutual verbal agreement. This is where your patience and problem solving skills will need to be developed and sharpened. It will be challenging at first, but this will save so much time and energy later.