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.
Martin Family Rules
*Do what you’re told the first time.
*When someone asks you to stop, then stop.
*If you have asked someone to stop and they don’t stop after you ask them politely one time,
then you need to let Mom or Dad know. Mom or Dad will handle it from there.
*Don’t purposefully annoy.
*If you need help, ask for it directly.
*Help around the house without being asked.
*You are in control of your own actions.
*Don’t interrupt and wait patiently.
*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.
*Make sure the toilet is clean after you use it.
*Put your trash in the trash can inside of the trash bag.
*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.
*If you are offered something that you don’t like, just say, “No, thank you.”
* 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. Amy at Raising Arrows has a great If/Then chart, which details proper discipline for each breach of general family guidelines, complete with scripture reference.
What are some of your favorite family rules?
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