Do you find, in parenting, that you’re constantly telling your kids no? Do you feel like you you’re always spouting off another thing that “we do not do in this household” because of reason x,y, or z? I was definitely there, momma.
Up until just recently, I had at least 50 rules for my 3 year old, and all out of good intentions. I want her to be a sweet, genuine, and respectful little girl that people find a joy to be around. Therefor, in our house, we don’t jump on other people’s couches. We do not color on the walls. We do not hit our sister. We do not show our food while chewing. We do not pour our milk in the cat food dish. You get the picture!
There were so many rules, that I couldn’t even remember them all, let alone my three-year-old! But how was I to raise a respectful, polite little girl without boundaries?
I recently had an amazing conversation with a dear friend of mine. In this conversation, she was telling me about a parenting series her and her husband were doing with their church. In this series, the pastor explained that he only had 2 rules for his kids: be honorable and be honest. My friend went on to explain that by having two main rules that govern matters of the heart, you end up covering a multitude of areas that you would normally have to create individual rules for. For example, instead of having a rule for not taking your sibling’s toys, you simply ask the child, “is taking your sibling’s toys from them honorable?”
I absolutely loved this idea! So that very evening, my husband and I created 3 family rules we want our kids to live by.
1. Be Honest
We want our kids to be open and honest in all things. We want them to know the importance of telling the truth right away, and to understand that, in life, when you begin telling lies, you only increase the natural severity of the consequences.
2. Be Respectful
We want our children to be respectful to others emotions, bodies, belongings, and voice. We want our children to listen when others are speaking, respect boundaries and personal space, think about how their actions may make others feel, and take good care of other people’s belongings.
3. Be Kind
We want our children to be empathetic, loving, and kind. We want them to generously extend love to others and think about other’s needs.
These 3 rules cover just about everything, besides maybe safety issues like not touching a hot stove, looking both ways before crossing the road, etc.
So if our daughter pushes her sister we say, “Was that kind?” If she rips the pages out of a book, we say. “was that being respectful of people’s belongings?” If she tells us she was full just to get down from the dinner table to play, we say, “Was that honest?’
I can’t believe how much of a difference just simplifying your rules makes. I no longer feel like I’m daily creating rules, and my daughter now has a clear view of what’s expected of her!
I encourage all of you to take a good look at the rules and expectations you have for your children, and see if you too can make them more clear and focused!