Rules are great. Rules are necessary for human beings to exist in an orderly manner. Rules keep the world running smoothly. Rules were most assuredly created on the eighth day.
By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | September 12, 2012
Rules make the world go ‘round… that is until you come home exhausted from a hard day of work after tossing and turning all night then discover afternoon chaos! There’s a note from your son’s teacher; he did not turn in his homework today for the third time and will have detention tomorrow even though you have other plans. After telling her ‘no surprises,’ your daughter signed you up for room mother and forgot to tell you about the brownies needed for the party at school to celebrate National Library Card Month tomorrow.
You may think one broken rule is not a big deal but in those weak moments it may be the most important times to hold fast. When your child understands that rules only apply part of the time then you lose credibility. The children also learn to use your being tired as the perfect time to ask permission or to bend the rules. Giving in now will certainly ensure a more difficult time in the near future.
Children function well with reasonable rules that are clearly stated. Being firm (not mean) and consistent in upholding the rules will work best. If you have a computer with a word processing program you can type out a list of the rules and print them out for your children. My daughter had a new friend over one afternoon and the girl read the rules list aloud. I expected to hear, “Your mom must be so mean,” but surprised me by saying, “This is great! My mom and dad expect me to remember all their rules!”
If your child cannot read just yet, using pictures can suffice as long as you connect a picture to a particular rule. Posting your rules in a public space like the refrigerator is a good choice because we all spend so much time there. An even better and more private option for some may be in the bathroom next to the mirror so kids can read while brushing their teeth. The details can be worked out between you and your children because the last thing you would want to do is embarrass them in front of others.
Rules change over time like bedtimes or cooking in the kitchen. Your son or daughter may want a rule changed and state pretty valid reasons but you are the parent— you have the last word. Just like the speed limit signs on the highway, rules are there for a reason and it’s usually safety but don’t feel like you have to justify every rule. You are the boss! Unless you come home tired and let the rules slide just this once…
Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.
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