Who would think it could be so difficult to write a set of family rules. We’ve done it before when the kids were younger with not many arguments involved. For the past two weeks I’ve tried to update them and have involved everyone in the discussions.
Our 10 year old daughter who has Oppositional Defiant Disorder and finds rules a difficult concept to understand at the best of times decided that the only rule we should have is that ‘there are no rules!’. Our five year old son suggested a rule we need is that we must buy a dog. Our eldest son just wanted to be allowed to play on his DS whenever he chose to.
We have ended up with a set of non negotiable rules that includes we must respect everyone and their property and Mum and Dad’s word is final, as well as a set of negotiable rules that includes there are time limits on how long you can play computer games but these may change depending upon your behaviour.
Everyone is aware of the rules and the consequences for breaking the non negotiable ones. So far so good. How long it stays that way is anyone’s guess, but I do know that our children benefit from having boundaries set. Everyone works well when they know what is expected of them. By letting our children be involved in making the rules, it teaches them responsibility and will make for a calmer and happier environment to live in.