Thursday, October 25, 2012

two sets of rules in the home

We are lucky that we all live together in one home. That we are one family and have one set of rules in our home that we follow. I know there are many who do not have this luxury in life and deal with children struggling to live in two different homes with two sets of rules. That is a completely different topic than what I want to talk about today. 

For me, along my parenting journey I have learned a few lessons. One of the lessons I have learned is that in our home it really is a bad idea to have two sets of rules that we follow. One rule for the parents and one for the children sends a mixed message and confuses our children. We have discovered this the hard way and have found that having one set of rules in our home saves on arguements and creates unity for us as a family.

Now when I am talking about 'rules' in the home I am talking about guidelines that we follow as a family. I also understand that there is a difference between adults and children and they are not the same in how they live their lives. For example: I am not going to expect a child to clean the kitchen the way an adult would, I am not expecting a child to have the freedom to stay up to midnight every night if they wanted to or that a child is allowed to drive a car. What I am referring to are general family rules or guidelines to follow. Having one set for everyone as a large family allows us to be clear on what we value and expect to be upheld in our home. It gives us a protection in a way. 

We have found that with so many children in our home at differing ages it just became too difficult to keep track of what rule applied to what age. So we set clear rules that apply to all of us as a family. We also made sure that we set rules that we agreed on as parents as we were the one's who needed to be consistent and follow through with them. We also needed to be able to live them ourselves!

So here are some examples of what we came up with in our home:
We have one set of rules for watching movies. We have a set family rating and we all follow that guide. 

We have one set of rules for words spoken in our home. We don't use any swear words as a family so we don't have to deal with the 'only mummy and daddy are allowed to use that word' situation. 

We have one set of rules for music. We all check the lyrics on songs before we purchase them and only invite music into our home that we feel is going to be uplifting and fun for us as a family. 

We have one set of rules for physical punishment such as hitting, smacking or kicking. There is NO hitting, smacking or kicking in our home. There may at times have been threats given when tempers have exploded but as a rule we have no physical punishment given in our home.

We have one set of rules for name calling. We do not use degrading words to put each other down and on many occasions I have had to bite my tongue off not to use them! It drives me crazy to see parents calling children degrading names and then when the child says it they get in trouble for it. 

We have one set of rules for computers. All computers are kept and used in family rooms where everyone can see what is being watched, played or used on them. This keeps us all accountable.

As you can see, as parents we take this kind of thing seriously. It is not easy to follow these rules some days but we have found that it stops resentment and any bad feelings between children and parents and it helps to bring more unity and harmony to our home. To us that makes it worthwhile.


  1. We work along the same lines. Monkey see monkey do. We are here to set an example of the adults we want our children to grow into.

    Unfortunately, our two eldest (my husbands daughters) do have the two house/two rules situation too - can't tell you how hard that is sometimes!

  2. Wise words Naomi x Thanks for sharing!

  3. Oh noami - it's like you're my parenting prophet! You seem to post on the most relevant thing going on in our household. (Checking for bugs!! Lol). I'm currently working on a 'guideline' for our family & your post has helped immensely with that. Even I & my husband have spent time in timeout to show our kids that the 'rules' apply to everyone. (Me for kicking a ball inside & I cant recall what my husband did but he was in the corner). Thank you again oh wise one!!

  4. Ha ha! Never been called that before but thank you. I have so much I am still learning as well you know but I do love sharing what we do in our home. Thanks for dropping by and for your comments. It is all about trial and error I find in working out what is best for your family. Just don't stop trying to find what works! N x

  5. Example is so important.

    My husband & I were on a bus once and clearly the parents/carers in this one family smoked. A child (still young enough to be in a pram) took the paper ticket at rolled it up and started fake smoking it. The adults with this child started laughing and promiting that behaviour.

    I was so disgusted. I've never so much as thrown a punch in my life but I've got to say I really wanted to!

  6. Totally agree with you - if as parents we are not prepared to follow the same rules / guidelines, how can we expect our children to.
    Have the best day !

  7. These are terrific guidelines Naomi. I agree with them wholeheartedly and feel that if they are good enough to want your kids raised by they are good enough for adults to live by as well.

  8. I love this post, and couldn't agree more. We only have two littl'uns at this stage, the oldest being 2 and 1/2, but I can imagine that it is something that will become more applicable as my girls get older and start developing their own likes and dislikes!

  9. totally agree with all these guidelines but particularly with the language one! Growing up I never heard either of my parents use any kind of bad language or ever even talk unkindly about other people and it was a powerful teaching tool for me! If parents and children have this same standard, it makes it easy for even really young children to identify words 'bad words'. Our rule is, 'if you don't hear mum and dad say it, and you're not sure what it means, check with us before you use it' :) We have had some 'colourful' conversations with our older kids :) haha!

  10. I agree Naomi, It is important to have one set of rules for everyone. Sometimes, it takes a while to work this out. I explain it to my family that we are a team, and there is no you or I.

  11. Thanks Naomi, and fellow commenters...sometimes I feel like we're so strict compared to our peers but we basically just follow very similar guidelines to yours. Also we do "no TV from dinnertime on" (OK, it does go back on after the children are in bed). There have been times that I've wanted to see something on early, but I feel it interferes with our girls' night routines too much, so it goes off & stays off, for us all.


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