The Importance of Household Rules for Your Child
In society, there are rules and laws in place to optimize the safety of its citizens. As such, with these boundaries in place, it is reasonable to assume that we can go about our daily lives with minimum disruptions. Should something happen to violate our security, the law is in place to protect the innocent and punish the guilty. This mindset begins in the home environment. As parents, it is our responsibility to prepare our children to know right from wrong by establishing rules within the household.
Setting boundaries within the home provides our children with the guidance necessary to know that there are consequences when a rule is violated. Thus, when they enter the world as adults, they will already know how to behave in order to guarantee a civil society continues. When we are remiss in this responsibility, we contribute to the slippery slope that can result in a lawless society.
When establishing rules within the household it is vital that we include the children in the process. It is also important to keep in mind the age of the children and set boundaries that are age appropriate. It is one thing to expect a two year old to not play ball in the house; it is quite another thing to require a teenager to abide by curfew times. The toddler and the teenager do share something in common though: a strong desire to explore and experience the world around them. It is needful that, as parents, we are fully capable of helping both toddler and teenager make those choices wisely.
One main ingredient that will better guarantee a positive outcome for both age groups is the parent’s involvement. We as the adults will need to adjust according to the situation. The young child will need more of the ‘do as I say’ approach; whereas, the teenager will need more of the ‘do as I do’ approach. We have a great responsibility to set the standard by leading by example in every situation.
Again, it is vital that we involve each child in the decision making process when establishing rules within the household. That will also depend on the age appropriateness of each child. For the young children, wearing a helmet when riding a bicycle will be a no debate; for the teenager, wearing a seat belt is a no debate. However, even within the safety limits placed on any age group, there also needs to be room for negotiation. To consistently listen to each child’s reasoning why a particular rule was violated is crucial to resolving the issue with both parties in mind. It is important that each child be treated as ‘innocent until proven guilty’. This is the law of the land and as such the best approach in preparing them for that reality.
It is a fact that, when children are involved in the decision making process of establishing rules and boundaries, they are much more likely to abide by them. It is also a fact that, when they agree to the final draft of rules, they will better accept the consequences should they violate any of the rules. In addition, when you as their parent remain firm but fair by holding them to the rules you both agreed upon, they will be much more willing to accept the punishment as a result of breaking the rules. By setting the standard, involving the children in the process and remaining consistent in enforcing the rules established, you will not only keep peace within your home but will also send young adults out into the world ready to keep the peace for the good of society.