Parents Rules for Rules

Parents can and should make rules for their household, but many parents I speak with find it unusual that I believe there are rules about making rules.  Everything we do is modeled after our Heavenly Father and is designed to direct our children to Him.  That being the case, we need to model His rule making when we make ours.

Rules need to be:

  1. Knowable – You cannot create rules and not reveal them to your children.  If you are going to chastise them for some behavior or attitude, then you need to make sure you teach to that BEFORE the offense is given.
  2. Predictable – The rules should build in a particular direction that should be built on and consistent with guiding principles (hard work, good stewardship, etc.). Rules that are not consistent with one another or not consistent with the principles are doing a disservice to your children, your household, and your Lord.
  3. Consistent – A rule should be consistently applied, and consistently enforced.  I am guilty of creatively applying exceptions for all of my children.  My older children can do the math to keep up with my thinking here, but the younger ones cannot.  Keep the rules constant for them.  The children will appreciate knowing what to expect, and your wife will appreciate with not having one more thing on her plate (keeping up with a moving target).
  4. Achievable – I know this should go without saying, but sometimes I find, those are the very things that need to be said.  You cannot make rules that your children cannot live up to.  That is simply asking for frustration on everyone’s part and it will ultimately drive them away from you and most likely their Heavenly Father.
  5. Frame Appropriate – The rules you are making should factor in the child’s age / frame.  I do not have rules for Coco (he follows house rules that even guests would follow, but that is it).  Princess is just about completely out of rules as well.  The younger we slide down the family, the less freedom they have.
  6. Minimal – Even for the little ones, the rules you create should be broad and few.  If they are toddling through their day trying to remember the household code of conduct, you are overdoing it by a long shot.  You  are raising unhappy children and are creating unnecessary confrontation with your children.  That is bad from the get-go.  Here is an example of keeping rules broad and few, P.C. loves tools.  He loves my gadgets.  He is four.  He can do a lot of expensive damage to a lot of things (most of all himself).  Rather than a special rule, one broad one that all can enjoy fits the bill: “If it is not yours, don’t touch it without asking.”  Bright-Eyes at two can handle that one and so can everyone else.  No extra rules are necessary to cover P.C.’s particular penchant.

The bottom line is this.   Your children are required to respect and obey you.  Don’t make that harder on them than it has to be.  Our Lord makes respect and obedience a joy.  You need to as well.

The Perfect Mattress

After a recent Elder’s Retreat, one of the men asked the pastor how he slept.  The pastor responded that he slept quiet well as the mattress had the perfect amount of firmness.  The first elder with a propensity for word play responded, “Let us pray that is how we are as elders.”

Not only did I give my amen to that, I immediately thought about the application to parenting.  As parents we want to have the perfect amount of firmness.  Too little firmness and you get all bent out of alignment.  Too much firmness and you become sore from the pressure points not allowing proper circulation.

With parenting, it is absolutely true that too little firmness will produce children that are not properly aligned with how they were created or how our Lord desires them to be.  Left to their own devices they will indulge some areas and neglect others.  Their gifts may or may not be the things developed, but their weaknesses will surely grow unchecked.

Too much firmness and you will stifle the spirit that burns within them.  Any initiative a child may have will be squelched because they begin to do the economics themselves.  While they might like to develop a gift, the consequences of making a mistake eventually crush that desire.

Just the right firmness will produce children that love their boundaries and understand the genuine care that is behind them.  Ultimately, it produces happy people and a good night’s rest for everyone.

P.C. tells it like it is (again)

We took P.C. to Target the other day. He had a stuffy nose so he wanted to go with Beautiful to tell the Pharmacist about it to see what what he would recommend. Beautiful prompted him to explain his problem to the Pharmacist.

He responded, “My sniffer is not working.”

After Beautiful translated, they were able to get him some “Sniffer Fixer.”

Curly Girly Looses a Tooth

Curly Girly lost her first tooth Sunday right before church. She has been playing with it for a little while now and it surprised us all with how easily it popped out. I remember when Coco lost his first tooth eating a bacon cheeseburger. Four children and almost 20 years later, some things that surprise me remain the same. It just goes to show, now matter how much experience you have it is meaningless unless you remember.