Note: Some of the links in this post may be affiliates. This means I may earn a small commission if you purchase from a link I have provided (at no extra cost to you). Please don't buy any tools or products unless you feel and believe they will help you in reaching your parenting, play or homeschooling goals! Please see my disclosure for more info!! Thanks for always supporting Parenting Puh-lease!
Establishing Family Rules
For a long time I struggled with establishing family rules. Not because I didn’t agree with them or didn’t want to have to discipline but rather because I struggled with the concept of understanding and dishing out consequences. I had read that it was important to not have too many rules and time outs all the time were not encouraged. Rather, it was better to have your children face consequences that left them with valuable teaching moments because the punishment fit the crime. I spent a lot of time reading about natural and logical consequences.
Just in case you haven’t heard about these terms before; natural consequences happen on their own with no interference from us as mommas. An example of this would be if your child refused to put on their jacket when it was chilly outside, then they would go outside and feel cold; teaching them to wear their jacket in the future when it was cold outside. Logical consequences are when the parent chooses a punishment that fits the crime. If a child were to rip a page out of a book they would have to tape the book. Or a child were to spill a glass of water then they would have to help clean it up with a cloth.
And so I did this religiously, but I came to realize that there were times when that wasn’t enough. There were times in our home when those consequences didn’t teach the lesson that was needed. There were moments when the girls were being disobedient in fighting, or being disrespectful or outright being defiant and I wondered how on earth all parenting could be accomplished only through natural and logical consequences. What is the logical consequence for willful disobedience?? I still don’t know the answer to be honest.
From a parenting and teaching perspective I could explain to you why it is needful for children to have boundaries and rules. It took a lot of researching about that one too to find the answer but just in case you want a short explanation to get certain other family members on board here it is: Children thrive and rely on routine and knowing their boundaries because it helps them to feel safe. When children feel safe that it the time or opportunity that learning and teaching opportunities can happen. However, children pride themselves on testing limits because they always want to make sure that the expectations and rules are still the same. One analogy I read, put it this way: boundaries are like an invisible wall the child always wants to know where the wall is and will reach out to feel it so they can feel safe and secure. Hence the limit testing of boundaries.
So I began thinking more and more about consequences and democracy. In my home, I really like my girls to add their ideas and beliefs into what we are doing because I want them to know that their voice matters. I pride myself on running my home as a democracy but I realized in thinking about that that there are times when some consequences are non-negotiable and are NOT up for discussion. For example, if I was to be pulled over for speeding and given a ticket then I would need to pay that ticket. I couldn’t just apologize to the police officer and expect him not to give me a speeding ticket. Maybe if I was lucky I could be able to get off on a warning but if I chose to consistently and habitually speed I would face the consequences of getting speeding tickets. And speeding tickets are never fun because then you can’t use that extra money you have tucked away for something amazing!
So with that knowledge in mind I went to my favourite spot of inspiration (The Eyre Family) to see what exactly their take was on family rules. As I read through their beliefs I learned that they like to call family rules family laws because children seem to understand that they are important and are needed. The Eyre’s compared their family laws to traffic laws or the laws of the country. If you want to read their wise wisdom and counsel you can head on over to 5 Family Laws to Obey. I love how they have specifically broken down their family laws into just 5 laws because they are easy to follow and understand. Peace, Respect, Order, Asking, and Obedience. Within each they have clearly explained the expectation and given the consequence right away of what will happen if the law is broken. I loved this concept but I still struggled with the obedience part.
And so I went back to my other favourite spot of inspiration which was approaching the idea of family rules from a Christian perspective. In the Family Home Evening Resource Manual, there is a whole lesson for family night called A House of Order dedicated to teaching and establishing Family Rules to our children. It was then that I finally understood obedience and how I now needed to approach it with my girls. It wasn’t going to be a one lesson thing where I could chalk it up to being taken care of and the girls would understand and totally get it. It came down more to the fact that I would need to explain that we need to be obedient to protect ourselves and those around us.
Be an Example
And then I realized a certain truth about these family rules. If I was going to set family laws in my home I needed to make sure that I was following those expectations as well. I can’t encourage and expect respect if I am not willing to give it back to my girls. I struggle with always being respectful to my girls when I have asked them 5 or 7 times to put their shoes on to go out the door, or get their pyjamas on. But it was then that I realized that I needed to model the behaviour. It needed to become a part of who I was. As I reflected on this more and more I realized that the best way to accomplish setting these Family Laws would be through a weekly
party theme in which we could solely focus on that Family Law and how to follow through with what that expectation or rule was.
So over the next month please check back as I will make the family law lessons available, just in case you want to have family themes too!
Because oh puh-lease!! You’ve got this momma!!