Yesterday I shared with you my views and position on family rules. Today I am sharing our family rules with you. So, without any further delay, here they are:
1. ‘No fighting.’ And by ‘no fighting,’ I mean ‘no walloping each other, and no, it’s not up for negotiation!’ A no brainer really, but not an easy one to enforce without the old “he said she said” routine that tends to accompany reports of skirmishes on the trampoline. But when those reports do come in, mummy points to the wall, and everyone disappears with their tails between their legs and their black eyes.
2. ‘No rude words’ comes next. That one is as much for me as it is for the kids. And for my husband. And for the baby, who doesn’t say very much, but she throws the word “shit” about like it’s going out of fashion!
3. ‘Speak nicely to each other,’ and can mean anything from “change your tone” to “don’t call your brother a butt crack,” and all manner of horrid things that little boys like to vomit at each other.
4. ‘Listen when someone is speaking.’ I’m always tempted to point this one out to some of our guests, and once or twice, one of my kids really has! I’m never sure whether to laugh or cry when that happens. And should I tell them not to be cheeky, or high five them for knowing the rules?
5. ‘Ask before you borrow.’ That’s something that can always be a problem amongst children, particularly when things are often stored communally of rather, flung, communally, on the playroom floor. Whilst it is always nice for children to have their own belongings, we try to promote sharing and generosity. This can backfire, when the four year old borrows and breaks something, but there just wasn’t room on the poster to cover every particular and ridiculous eventuality. Perhaps I’ll do an addendum. Still got a lot of walls to fill!
6. ‘Pack away when you’ve finished’ comes next. Mummies and daddies, please be careful to specify precisely what constitutes ‘finished’ so as to avoid the inevitable “I’m going to play with it again next Wednesday, so I’ll pack away after that!” You have to stay one step ahead of those crazy kids, or they’ll have the deeds to your house transferred into their names, and you in an old people’s home before you know it!
7. ‘Pish in the loo, not around it.’ Always gets a chuckle. From my friends with daughters. The one’s with boys give me that “oh my God, yours too?” look. Then, without exception, they tell me that their husbands could do with reading that rule. And then I make a mental note never to use the bathrooms in their houses ever again. Don’t get me started on bathroom etiquette. Really? Is it that hard? Would you like a blinkin diagram?
8. ‘Help each other, and Mummy and daddy.’ We’ve had some success with this one. To their credit, my boys can be quite helpful, especially with the baby, who is everyone’s favourite. The real test is when it comes to doing things for someone who has just wiped a bogy on your pyjamas, or thrown you’re soccer boots in the bath. Mornings have been transformed with the introduction of this rule, which sees number 1 making breakfast for numbers 2 and 3, number 2 putting everyone’s lunch boxes in their bags, and number 3 thumping numbers 1 and 2, because he doesn’t want that for breakfast, and hates what’s in his sandwiches! In our house, that’s a success!
9. The last rule, isn’t really a rule, rather a motto which sums up all that comes before it. It encapsulates everything we want our family to be, every value we hope to instil in our children, and we hope, will inform every choice they make. ‘We are a team,’ and if we play like a team, we can all be winners. As a mum, I want all my kids to be winners. With a great team behind them, how can they possibly lose?
So there you have it, our family rules. Do you have family rules in your house? If you don’t, is it something you have thought about doing?