Parenting - Five Steps to Household Rules
Posted on November 05, 2011 by Deborah Ainsworth, One of Thousands of Family Coaches on Noomii.
Families are diverse, from traditional to blended to non-traditional. All have the need for boundaries and household rules. Tips to get you there!
Parenting – Tips to Create Household Rules
In my Parenting Coaching practice, one of the questions I hear time and again is how to establish household rules, and more importantly, how to consistently apply the consequences to those rules. This is not complicated if you follow the tips outlined below. Whether the family is traditional or blended, little ones or teens, this can work and I have seen it work repeatedly. The key is being committed to the plan, being consistent, ensuring everyone understands and importantly, keeping the emotions out of the equation. Allow me to elaborate with the five steps to household rules to help you get the ball rolling:
1) Start Holding Family Council (recommend once per week to start, then moving to once per month for maintenance)
A family council is where the entire family has an opportunity to have their voice heard, free from interruption, free with expression of anything that is bothering them within the family and ideas on activities for the family and what to do for FUN! Maybe planning the next vacation or the trip to Grandma and Grandpa’s, it is all about involving the family, and having dedicated time to be heard.
A great technique crafted by Mark Hobbins, founder of Family IQ is the “Talking Stick”. This allows families to use an object (anything can be your stick) to pass when a person in the family has the floor for speaking. When the person has the talking stick, no one else can interrupt or dispute what is being said. Good boundaries need to be set as well, including no derrogatory talk, finger pointing etc. This is the opportunity to express, but in a productive and respectful way. This is a great way to discuss and establish household rules. This can be especially effective with blending families with yours, mine and ours!
2) Have a meeting dedicated to Household Rules
Base this meeting on Household Rules, discuss what you as parents are interested in establishing, then get feedback from the children. They may have some additional ideas that are important to them. Make sure to write these down, then review them with both parents and decide what the best path is for household rules. Be sure they are rules you are comfortable with and feel confident that you can administer the consequences consistently.
3) Determine Positive and Negative Consequences
Immediately following the meeting, the parents should review what was shared in the meeting and make a list and then include positive and negative consequences. Positive examples may include a family reward of a trip out to some place fun, or a vacation that everyone is excited about, or a TV…it is up to the family to determine what is important and what is positive. If individual positive can be put in place, this could include monetary, more cell phone time or Wii time, whatever is important to the children and can be adapted for age groups. Put the household rules and consequences in writing and be ready to share with the family at the next meeting.
4) Family Review of Rules
Then, in the next meeting, have a list of household rules and expectations including their positive and negative consequences. It is important to have positive reward to negative. Once this has been shared with the family, listen to their feedback, and try not to change the decided household rules as it reduces credibility. Let the family know as parents that you will both be consistently apply the rules and giving helpful reminders. Even if one parent has been more of the disciplinarian in the past, both will be consistently applying and to all children. This helps with blending families as well as all children are treated equal, regardless if they are yours, mine or ours.
5) Post the Rules in a High Traffic Area
Once the meeting is concluded, put it on a postboard, whiteboard whatever makes sense in your house. Then have every family member sign the posterboard to show that they understand are are willing to comply. Remember, progress not perfection! Remind to keep compliance going, and be consistent above all else. This takes the emotion out of consequences as they are understood by all. For younger children, they can make their “mark” on the posting, and they will remember the rules through reminders.
Consider this example of household rules:
No cussing or insulting
No bad attitudes or negative mannerisms
No talking over one another
Angry or Frustrated? Immediate 3 minute cool down (Allows for productive conversation)
Acknowledging what just heard
With following these steps, you will be well on your way to a more peaceful household. Keep in mind through your family meetings that children want to be heard and want as many venues as possible to be heard. Remember to tap into how they feel, give them an opportunity to engage and to be heard. Especially in blending families, these techniques can be of benefit. It helps to add structure to the family and expectations for all, including the parents!