Rules for the home

"Love 'em or leave 'em," rules are essential in securing peace in a society and maintaining order within our homes. Families need rules in order to function. Both kids and parents will thrive with the right set of rules.

You'll probably need more than five rules, but most house rules will boil down to fit into these categories:

Everyone has chores

This rule applies to everyone old enough to walk. It shows that keeping a household running requires help from everyone. There will be no favoritism or exceptions, although people's chores will differ according to age and ability.

Where are you?

Children must tell their parents where they are going, their specific plans, and when they'll be home. "Upgrades" in curfews are earned by being trustworthy—having a track record of always letting parents know where they are going and returning home at the agreed time. This may seem restrictive, but it's part of being safe.

We're all respectful

This means, no name calling or put-downs. Kids nor parents are not allowed to call family members "dumb," "stupid," "idiot," etc. It will not be tolerated. This includes using obscene speech. You know the phrase, "respect is earned"? Not so in families. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and love.

Speak the truth

No one in the family, young or old, is allowed to lie. This doesn't give permission to be mean, though. There's no need to be "brutally honest." With some thought, our words can remain kind and truthful.

Careful with our stuff

Being respectful of the home by not abusing it with roughhousing or carelessness, is a great rule for all family members. In addition, kids and parents should respect the belongings of others by asking before borrowing things and returning them in proper condition.

A great way to get the whole family on board is to set up house rules together. If the kids help make the rules, they will feel ownership and will be more likely to respect them. Have them come up with the consequences, as well. Most parents are surprised at how sensible the rules are that kids come up with once asked...and how strict the consequences they devise.

Rules are far from a cage or a pair of handcuffs. Without them, we have chaos. Properly made and kept, they are what create a home life filled with peace.

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