To discipline a child produces wisdom, but a mother is disgraced by an undisciplined child.
— Proverbs 29:15 (NLT, I normally use KJV but I liked the wording here.)
Guidelines are important. Especially with children. They need to have a clear understanding of “This is acceptable.” versus “This is not acceptable.” Of course, we as parents should be setting those guidelines. In our home, we have specific rules about specific things. When a child breaks a rule, the conversation goes something like this:
Mom: What is the rule?
Child: The rule is x.
Mom: So you knew the rule and you still disobeyed?
Child: Yes m’am.
Mom administers punishment in line with broken rule.
The parent that addresses the broken rule is the one that has the conversation with the child and handles the punishment. We do co-parent, but unless it is a very serious offense, only one parent will address the issue.
If you disagree with your spouse, never under any circumstance, allow your child to see or pick up on that disagreement.
All disagreements regarding the child should be done privately. Don’t get me wrong—my husband and I have open debate : ) in front of our children, but never when it is about our children.
I took some time the other day and actually wrote out our rules. We went over them as a family, and we now have a written document that lists our rules. You could go so far as to have your children sign it, if you wanted to do that.
So let’s get started. These are in no specific order. Each rule is important.
Family Rules to Live By
*Do what you’re told the first time.
*When someone asks you to stop, then stop.
*Don’t purposefully annoy.
*If you need help, ask for it directly.
*You are in control of your own actions.
*Be careful who you marry.
*Guard your eyes and ears and mouth.
*Respect mine and Daddy’s private time and each other’s private time.
*Don’t give excuses. There is no excuse for doing wrong or for doing poor work.
*Don’t repeat sensitive matters that we discuss in our home.
* Treat everyone the same, regardless of race, income, or cleanliness.
*Encourage each other.
*Do not lie (or manipulate) under any circumstances.
Let me close with the fact that rules are only good if you back them up. You can have all the rules in the world, but if your children know you aren’t going to do anything if they break a rule, then you might as well not even have them.
Click the image below to download your free “Family Rules to Live By” printable. It will print on an 8.5×11 paper but is created for an 8×10 frame. The pink border shown here is just for display.
I had a request for a classroom version to change it to say “Don’t repeat sensitive matters that were discussed in your home” and to “Respect each other’s space.” Same color palette.