Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Family Rules Work For Me

Sorry to say, the chickadees have reached the ripe old ages of 9 and 6 with some confusion.  After a disastrous week of tears and trouble, lots of sibling arguing back and forth, and a bucket load of parental angst, I decided that I needed to go back to parenting 101.  I have had a book on my shelves for years and have dipped into it from time to time:  Greg and Lisa Popcak's Parenting with Grace.  The other day, after a particularly sinful exhibition of parenting that will probably land the chickadees in therapy twenty years from now, I took it off the shelf again.  Of course, we all know that the answer to everything is between the pages of a book (not).  But I did like this one, and it inspired me.

Trying to start the next day on a positive note, I brought each girl in to my bed separately for a morning cuddle and talk.  I asked #2 to tell me some of the rules we have here in our household.  After a long pause, she said something along the lines of "always zip the trampoline net closed".  This is a rule, but not really what I was going for.  I then asked her to name some rules at school, and she was able to trill five or six without any hesitation.  Chickadee #1 had an even more difficult time naming some household rules.  Truth be told, she also had trouble naming rules at school.  Maybe she was not focused.

Anyway, a light bulb appeared above my tangled bed head.  I went downstairs and told my husband that I had found the key -- the kids didn't follow the rules because they didn't actually know the rules.

Later that night, we had a family meeting and articulated the rules together.  We told the chickadees that, now that we all know the rules, there was no need for confusion. When a rule has been broken, parents will send chickadees to a list of rules and ask them to identify which rule they have broken.  It's working like a charm, both to reinforce the rules and stop the negative behavior.

And so, clearly articulated family rules posted in an easily accessible place to which Chickadees can be sent repeatedly throughout the day as they serially break them WORKS FOR ME!!


  1. I like this a lot. Hadn't thought about having the child identify the broken rule. Lisa

  2. We love our family rules - I refer to them often...and you're right. How can they obey the rules if they don't know them? I need to remind myself of this daily.
    Visiting from Works For Me Wednesday!

  3. What a great idea! One thing I have found important with my child is that we parents have to follow the rules, too--he gets very upset when he sees Daddy bending a rule that *he* has to follow every time, and who can blame him? He keeps us accountable! :-)

    I love your spirit of working on your children's behavior by striving to do better at guiding them. Of course sometimes bad behavior really is 100% the child's fault, but most times there is something we can do to encourage them in the right direction.

    1. Absolutely, Becca -- I have put our rules in a nice frame in a prominent place in our home where EVERYONE can see them clearly. I am sure I'll be looking at them a lot myself over the next little while. :-)