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I am curious as to whether most parent prefer to have clearly defined rules, or prefer to focus more on instilling values rather than having specific rules.
If you have rules in your house, what are they?
Over the years we have reduced our list of rules down to ‘be kind’, ‘be responsible’ and ‘be respectful’.
I am really keen to hear the perspectives of others on this.
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I love the norms that you have in your home and how they are positive-focused so that your kids are clear on 'what to do' rather than what not to do.
We have a set routine more than rules as such as my daughter is still at a young age. We always make sure we have bath time after dinner and then milk, teeth brush, book and bed.
We turn off the screen half an hour before the night time routine and do some quiet play on the mat, despite demands for more TV! This will develop into a rule as she gets older.
I'm also starting to introduce dessert (if we have it) only after dinner and clothes to be taken to the laundry after bath/shower. I like the ideas mentioned above as well about reading before screens, great idea!
When my kids were younger, I found that concrete rules eg. make your bed, put your dirty laundry in the basket, no shouting at your sister etc. were easier for them to follow because the rules were clear and they did not need to try and guess what our expectations were.
I have found that discipline often needs to be tailored to the personality of the child, but whatever way you choose to discipline your kids, it needs to be consistent and you can't show favouritism. You need to ensure that your children are disciplined fairly. Positive reinforcement can often be a better tool than punitive measures.
As they got older, my only absolute rule is NO LYING (not even by omission). Even if my kids have messed up, they know that there will be far fewer consequences if they are honest. Other than that, I have expectations rather than rules. I expect my kids to be kind, considerate, and courteous. If find that those expectations cover most rules for example if you are considerate of others, you will do your share in keeping the house tidy, if you are kind you're not going to react in anger, and if you are courteous you will take others into consideration when you make your choices and plans.
Pre-pandemic, I admit that I was a very controlling mom. There were a lot of don't's, never, and no. Perhaps, it was primarily because of the environment I grew up in. In my mind, I wanted to be better, I wanted my kids to have the life I never really had. At times, I could sense my kids were really not up to with the rules I set at home. Being in a long-distance relationship with my husband, I felt I had to be more responsible regarding parenting and raising our children.
Then the pandemic came. There were a lot of uncertainties in our lives and I felt so down being in our situation back then. I was not at my best, and perhaps, my kids were not really ok. So, what we did was enjoy our life at home. We homeschooled, which made me know my children much deeper.
Now, there are still rules but it was not as strict as before. I always remind my children to do good in everything that they do and to speak up when needed. I guess that is all the rules we have at home right now and I feel that my kids became happier and more responsible because I am no longer the "tiger mom" they used to have.
I big part of me wishes we had more rules and structure. I love your approach to being kind, responsible, and respectful.
I won't hesitate to limit screen time if my children are disrespectful or violent with each other. They have a rule this summer that they need to read for 30 minutes (or write, draw, etc.) before getting on their tablets. My kids are so energetic and active, I appreciate the little break that I get when they sit down and read or play on their tablets.
Now that my older kids can act more independently, I'd like to implement a few rules that will promote that independence. I think it's fair to ask that they do a few simple chores before the day gets started (make their bed, pick up laundry, etc.).
I'd also like to hear what other families have for house rules.