One of the hardest parts of parenting is being consistent. After a tough day at work, one might find themselves either too exhausted to battle wills with or very short with a child. I sat down early one Saturday morning and wrote out a list of House Rules that apply to everyone in the household, and made a copy for everyone and placed a copy on the fridge for everyone’s viewing pleasure. I’ve had to add some addenda over time.
- Every person in the house will show respect to every other person in the house. We take turns. We are courteous. We say please, excuse me, and thank you.
- Every person in the house will stand up and greet visitors to our home. Hugs not required to be given to strangers (ADDENDUM – or the UPS man.)
- No running in the house unless it is on fire or there is a need for a tourniquet. (ADDENDUM – SPEED WALKING IS THE SAME AS RUNNING) (ADDENDUM – SKIPPING IS THE SAME AS RUNNING IN THE HOUSE)
- No more animals. (ADDENDUM – Yes, a hamster counts as an animal) (ADDENDUM – I mean it!)
- Dirty dishes belong in the dishwasher (ADDENDUM – if the dishes in the dish washer are clean, please don’t put your dirty dish in. Empty the dishwasher first).
- If you are going to be gone for more than one night, make your bed.
- Dirty clothes left in the bathroom will be donated to Goodwill. (ADDENDUM – No, I will not replace your missing basketball shorts).
- Honesty is the ONLY policy. Consequences for violating this rule triple that of anything else. Once trust is lost, it’s hard to find.
- Indoor voices are for indoors. Outdoor voices are for outdoors. (ADDENDUM – use a headset when using any device that makes noise) (ADDENDUM – all noise making toys will be sent to the grandparent’s home that purchased them)
- You have no right to privacy when you live in this house or you are supported by my paycheck. you will be given privacy out of courtesy in many cases, but never believe it is a right. I am ALWAYS watching you.
- Homework before TV (ADDENDUM – homework before everything)
- Kitchen closes at 9 PM (ADDENDUM – does not apply when having overnight guests)
- No negotiating on the rules after one has been broken. If you want to talk about one, talk about it beforehand and never when there’s emotion involved.
- Do something nice whenever possible.
- Everyone in the house goes to church.
- You are required to laugh, love, hug, & communicate.
After implementing these, life in the house became much less stressful and I highly recommend parents (and children) come up with their own list of house expectations.