Our Family Rules

This summer while our oldest had run away my husband and I finally nailed down some family rules on paper.  We felt that they worked for all ages and that they were simple enough to understand.  It was some of the good that came from a hard time in our family.  Though we now have the rules, we all still struggle with the  consequences of those rules, especially the kids!

Family Rules

I have had many people ask me for a copy so I am sharing our list with you.  I do not remember where we got these from.  I researched a few different web sites, tweaked and simplified for us. (So if you know of any of those websites let me know cause when I did this I did it for our family at the time)

Our Family Rules are:

  1. Treat yourself and others with respect: the Golden Rule applied first and foremost in our family.  No put downs, hitting, kicking, pinching,  or name-calling.  This applies to what you say to others and what you say to yourself in the mirror.  Use manners and say please, thank you, sorry, you’re welcome, and excuse me.
  2. Be honest and trustworthy: integrity is valued in our family.  Tell the truth, don’t omit details to attempt to avoid consequences, mean what you say and say what you mean, and follow through with promises.
  3. Be responsible and accountable: When you make a mistake, own up, apologize and ask how you can make it better.  Then take action to correct your mistake and improve upon the situation, ask a parent.
  4. Clean up your own mess: If you take it out, put it back.
  5. Show respect for people’s property: Knock before entering, ask permission before you use something, put it back better than you found it.  If you break it, rip it, or mess it up, replace it or fix it.
  6. Do not argue or talk back to your parents in a disrespectful way:Voice your opinion but respect the final decision made by your parents who make decisions based on what is best for the family, you and your well-being.
  7. Ask permission before you go out somewhere: First, ask your parents if your can go.  Be sure to tell parents or whoever is in charge who you will be with, where you are going, how you can be contacted, and when you will be home.  Then do what you said you should do.  If plans changed, call and let someone know.
  8. Do what Mom and Dad ask you to do first time they request it.  Stalling, ignoring, tantruming, complaining, rolling eyes and grunting are unacceptable responses. (this shows respect when you do it the first time.)
  9. Show gratitude: We are a blessed family.  Take time each day to say thank you for what you have, the people in your life, and the opportunities provided to you.
  10. Actively seek out ways to be kind and helpful to others: You do not need to wait for be invited to help.  We live in a home together, therefore we all need to pitch in!  We are all encouraged to provided unprompted, sincere praise for someone else or a show of affection to ensure that every family member feels valued and loved.

We of course have other house rules such as no eating other than on the tile….while verbal house rules are good-we find that some of our kids are black and white and need things written down.  And even written down, they still can’t understand them.  My younger ones are learning.  The biggest rules we deal with is 2, 7, and 8.  From the oldest to the youngest they struggle with these, and many times they don’t see them as important.  Some of my kids can look at you and lie right at your eyes like it is an every day event.  How do you punish for that?  And is their background (remember 3 are adopted) an issue in some of following the rules?

We struggle with the consequences, oh we have punishments, like time out, spankings or something is taken away.  They get mad…but instead of just sitting quietly for their time out or time away, they make noise or scheme….making their punishment longer.  Sometimes my little kids will sit in a time out 5 times their normal length.  I am finding that doing other things, such as extra cleaning is working better for some.  Still a learning process.

These family rules at least give us guide lines to help us along the way.  They are not perfect, like any family is not perfect, but parents we all need some place to start or our kids will think they are in charge.

I would love to hear your family rules and any list of consequences you may have!


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