Tag Archives: parenting

House Rules

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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.

House-of-Holmes Rules

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
  3. 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)
  4. No more animals.  (ADDENDUM – Yes, a hamster counts as an animal) (ADDENDUM – I mean it!)
  5. 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).
  6. If you are going to be gone for more than one night, make your bed.
  7. Dirty clothes left in the bathroom will be donated to Goodwill.  (ADDENDUM – No, I will not replace your missing basketball shorts).
  8. Honesty is the ONLY policy.  Consequences for violating this rule triple that of anything else.  Once trust is lost, it’s hard to find.
  9. 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)
  10. 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.
  11. Homework before TV (ADDENDUM – homework before everything)
  12. Kitchen closes at 9 PM (ADDENDUM – does not apply when having overnight guests)
  13. 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.
  14. Do something nice whenever possible.
  15. Everyone in the house goes to church.
  16. 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.

Be awesome!

Rich Kid, Poor Kid

My wife and I picked up my step-son from his grandparents’ house after school on Thursday.  As is my habit, I asked him about his day.  He huffed and started telling us that a kid at school had called him poor and was trying to keep his classmates from sitting with him (like a modern version of the cooties).  The frustration was very evident in his voice.  At ten years of age, he wasn’t properly equipped to defend his parents’ financial position.  Digging deeper, I asked him what had prompted this hubbub.  It was a paper bag.  Because Carter takes his lunch to school in a paper bag, he is being labeled poor.  What has happened to society?  

Friday night after soccer, he wanted one of his teammates to spend the night.  I had earlier overhead his friend attempting to make other arrangements.  Rather than have anyone feel left out, I made the executive decision to let 2 of his teammates come over for an all night battle to save the universe by way of the Xbox.  

Mark has been to our home several times.  But this was Jeremy’s first visit and after exploring our home, he exclaimed to me in amazement, with Carter present, “Y’all must be rich!”  I’m not sure what Jeremy’s family’s financial situation is, but it must not be the best for him to consider us “rich.”  We are by no means wealthy by most people’s standards.  Comfortable maybe, but not rich.

In just over 24 hours, my stepson had been called poor and rich.

Sunday night, I had the opportunity to have a conversation with him and asked him to talk about both incidents.  He was still angry at being called poor.  “Why does that make you angry?” I asked.  “Because I have a computer, a cell phone, and an iTouch” he replied.  I continued, “Do you think having those things makes you rich?”   He paused.  I think he wanted to answer “yes” but something told him it wasn’t the RIGHT answer.

I then asked if he thought we were rich.  “No” he answered.  

“What makes someone rich?”

Another long pause.

“Lots of money?” he guessed.

Before I answered I had to think carefully, because this was a critical learning moment.  What does make someone rich?

“Being rich is having God, family and friends in your life.”  It was the best I could come up with and the longer I dwelt upon it, it really is the right age appropriate answer.

I hugged him goodnight and as I was walking out the door, he said “Chris, if that’s what rich is, I’m really really rich.”

Couldn’t have said it any better myself.

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