Making Rules that Work

One of your most important parenting duties has to do with making solid, consistent rules for your family to live by. A clear set of rules makes life easier for the entire family.

But setting the rules is not always easy, and going about it the wrong way can lead to a great deal of frustration for parents and children alike.

As a part of the preschool my daughter attends, I am required to take some parenting classes. These aren’t the “you’re a bad parent” kind of thing, they’re just a way to help parents of preschoolers get more ideas. A lot of them are pretty fun.

One of the big concepts we’ve talked about in one of the classes is that you should try not to phrase instructions or rules in a negative way. If you say “No running in the house,” your children are automatically going to think of running. But if the rule is that you walk in the house, the thought is of walking.

Of course we are all going to say “no” sometimes. We have to. Sometimes it’s the clearest way to say what needs to be said.

Set your rules by what is important to you. If you want all the toys picked up daily, have that as a rule and a consequence for leaving them out. You could have a basket where toys left out get put until a day when the kids can have them back, for example. Just have a consistent day of the week that the basket can be emptied.

Do not expect the rules that work for your friends or parents to be perfect for your family. They may not be. And if a rule is not working out, try something different.


You may also like...

1 Response

  1. You make a very good point about changing the rules to be positive ones. I recently realized that I use “no” entirely too much when my toddler began to repeat it back all the time. He looks at a glass he shouldn´t touch and scolds himself, “NO!” and shakes his finger. Ooops.