House Rules Posted on the Refrigerator

A rule for this, a rule for that; how are the children supposed to remember it all?

By Jackie Saulmon Ramirez | May 9, 2013

My pre-teen daughter asked to have a new friend stay overnight and even though I didn’t know the girl or the parents I said, “Sure, the more the merrier.”

Chelsey’s friend Sharon was very bright; her parents were progressive to say the least. She was funny and very clever; she seemed much more mature in thought than Chelsey even though they were about the same age. They were having fun and that was important.

Sharon looked puzzled at first, “The way my Mom and Dad do it you would think they are making rules up as they go along.”

Chelsey and her sister Katie pulled out after-school snacks and discussed what to do afterward with Sharon. Katie had homework so she took her backpack off to her room. Sharon and Chelsey chose to play Scrabble now and do homework later on.

Sharon saw the “House Rules” I had posted on the refrigerator and began reading while Chelsey set up the Scrabble game and grabbed a tablet to keep score. I immediately became uncomfortable as I did not want to embarrass Chelsey. Sharon was reading every single rule and the more she read, the worse I felt.

“This House Rules is great!” remarked Sharon.

“Oh yea…?” I asked, “What exactly do you like?”

“I like that the rules are all written down and sticking out here on the refrigerator; my parents expect us to remember everything.”

“You’re kidding, you really like it?” I asked.

Sharon looked at me and said sincerely, “This would be a big help at home, I’m going to ask Mom and Dad to write our rules down. That way I could look them over so I don’t forget.”

“I like that you approve, Sharon.” I smiled and looked at Chelsey who was smiling back.

Sharon snickered, “The way my Mom and Dad do it you would think they are making rules up as they go along.”

I liked Sharon— and I learned from her that writing all those rules down was a good idea even though it may make me look like an ogre. The list of rules was long and took time to compile but it was worth it. Simply reading down the list, my children – and their friends – knew what was not allowed or probably off limits. The funny thing I learned is that parents make a huge mistake by assuming kids know more— when they often do not.

One member’s house rule was no TV programs rated higher than PG.

What was on my long list of house rules?

Here is an abbreviated list similar to the one Sharon read that day:

  • No swearing or cursing.
  • No hitting.
  • No spitting.
  • No kicking.
  • No scratching.
  • No pulling hair.
  • No making fun of anybody.
  • No screaming.
  • No running indoors.
  • No throwing things indoors.
  • No name-calling.
  • No stealing.
  • No lying.
  • No smoking.
  • No illegal drugs.
  • No tattling.
  • Do not answer the door or phone if I am not home.
  • Put away toys when finished.
  • Do not waste water.
  • Do not waste food.
  • Ask permission before committing to a sleepover, party, etc.

My original list was a page long and touched on simple things we would expect children to know but, unless they were told (and reminded occasionally), they might not.

About Rules

Parents can create a list and add any rule they want according to their beliefs and values. One parent had a rule about not watching any TV shows or movies with a rating of PG (Parental Guidance) or higher unless a parent was present. Print a copy out and post it on your refrigerator or other central location. Posting a copy in children’s bedrooms is also acceptable. It is helpful to discuss the rules with children and ask their input in a family meeting. One mother even went even further to also list consequences for breaking a rule. Review the rules periodically to add new rules as children get older and delete old rules like “no spitting.”

Does your family have a list of family rules? I would love to hear from you so drop me a line!

Copyright © 2014 Jackie Saulmon Ramirez. All Rights Reserved.

New Jersey 24-Hour Family Helpline: 1-800-THE-KIDS

Parents Anonymous® of New Jersey, Inc.
Phone: (609) 585-7666
Fax: (609) 585-7686

Join the Online Support Group
Wednesdays 9:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. EST
Thursdays 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. EST

Facebook: Parent Rap – Soup To Nuts

Parents Anonymous® Inc.
Phone: (909) 621-6184
Fax: (909) 621-0614

National Parent Helpline
1-855-4A PARENT OR 1-855-427-2736
Hours: Monday – Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST

About Jackie Saulmon Ramirez

Jackie has volunteered for more than twenty years for children and family issues. Currently she writes for parents in the "Reminder" and "Parent Rap" Facebook page. If you are interested in receiving the "Reminder," send her a message.
This entry was posted in How-To, Parenting and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to House Rules Posted on the Refrigerator

  1. Pingback: Easy Parenting Part I | Soup to Nuts

Share your thoughts and ideas!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s