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.