Do Your Kids Understand the Family Rules?
In the first article of this 3 part series, Family Rules, we talked about the need for having “The rules under our roof”. In this article we will talk more about the rules themselves.
Once the rules are clear and established in your mind, the trick is to make sure your kids understand them.
The key to success is in early training. the sooner you begin defining and clearly communicating the rules to your kids, the better success you’ll have. An effective way to send a message to your kids about what you expect and what the rules are is to be concise. This is a point that is worth mentioning over and over, because being concise is one of the greatest tools in your parenting skill set.
How to be concise in your family rules…
When talking with your children about boundaries and parameters (rules) that govern your home, keep it short!
Begin by saying, “The rule is (and then fill in the blank).” By keeping this sentence short and clear, you have a better chance of having your kids’ attention, keeping that attention, and helping your kids understand the message.
In order to find out if our children understand the rules, just ask them! When implementing new rules, especially, it’s important to ask them to repeat what you just said. Occasionally, get them to tell you the rules they already know.
A great opportunity to remind your kids about house rules is before they have friends over for a visit. Before their guests arrive, ask your kids to review a few important rules you want to emphasize before their friends come to visit. And, as we’ve said before, “Model the way.” Show your kids how you respect other people’s rules when you visit their homes.
Kids learn so much by watching you. And for better or worse, they watch you all the time, even when you might think they’re not paying attention. There’s nothing more embarrassing than to have your kid catch you breaking a house rule (that applies to all members of your family)! That can be a surefire way to lose credibility.
Different Sets of Rules
If there are a different set of rules that apply to the adults in your home (which there often are, naturally), please clarify the distinction with your kids.
For example, young kids need to go to bed at a certain time that may be much earlier than the parents’ bedtime, so you can establish that rule and provide the reasoning.
Then the rules for bedtime are expected to be different for the kids and their parents.
In our next article we will talk about the need to be consistent.
Dr. Sherkat is a parent strategist who is available to do Parent Education Workshops, either Private or PTA Sponsored Classes.
Contact her at 425-772-6698.