I’ve been saying for quite some time that there would be some new rules around here. I even went as far as to tell the children that this summer would be different. It would not be all fun and games…there would be structure. Over the first couple of weeks, I tried to use potential playdates as motivation to behave and do things around the house. That didn’t work. They had decided that they weren’t going to put forth the effort. So then I just started taking away privileges. They weren’t allowed to go play with friends, to go to movies, to go to Tastee Freeze, and so on. I thought I was prepared to stand my ground, but I didn’t. After a couple of days in the house they just fought so much I couldn’t stand it. It got to a point where I was the one being punished. That was when the promise of rules became a reality.
In the past when I’ve thought about these rules, I’ve come up with a VERY long list. That’s part of why the rules had not yet materialized. I couldn’t decide what to include and what to leave off. I also was unsure of how to word some of the rules so that the children didn’t find loopholes. So, last week I Googled “house rules” and “family rules” and started putting together a list of possible rules by looking at examples from others. I printed out this long list of possible rules and my husband and I went to work. We eliminated some things; we grouped others together as related. Amazingly enough, by the time we were done we had 9 clear cut rules for our house.
1. Do what you are told, when you are told.
2. Do not talk back to mommy and daddy.
3. Tell no lies.
4. Keep your hands and feet to yourself.
5. If it will hurt someone’s feelings, keep it to yourself.
6. Respect other people’s property.
7. If you…
– Open it, close it
– Turn it on, turn it off
– Take it out, put it away
8. When inside, use your inside voice.
9. Chores must be done before friends come over or the TV goes on.
So far, things are going pretty well. Yes, they are definitely still breaking the rules, but I feel like they take me more seriously now.