Friday, May 1

Mommy rules?



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My middle child daughter surprised me the other day:

"We have hardly ANY rules at our house."

She'd been visiting a friend's house, obviously, where they didn't eat in the living room, cut paint and paste on the dining room table, you know, GOOD parenting.

I thought about it for a minute, and realized just how many rules there ARE in my house:

  • Very little is as important as what you children are interested in.
  • Mommy will be there whenever she possibly can, which is most of the time.
  • Don't hurt each other and don't hurt yourself. When mommy says "dangerous"? That's the law.
  • Making something is much more valuable than buying something. Shopping is not a leisure activity.
Recently I had to sit down with all the children and explain to them that getting to school, church, and yes, BED on time were essential to 'making things work' around here. Getting homework done was also required. That's four things, and even my youngest could handle remembering that (and has to have her own 'homework' as a result, ha).

And last night same middle child asked THAT question: "which of us do you like the most?"

Oh, there's a very big rule about that. Mommies MUST like all their children the same.

"Oh. I saw something...." She thought about it for a second. "But that was just a TV show."

Yep.

***

So thinking about this some more and I'm kind of shocked that with a few variations I'm actually using the exact same rules I grew up with. So my question for parents is, are you? Do you do things the opposite of your parents or the same? I don't want anyone to feel they have to dig out and vent the painful aspects of their childhood, goodness knows I've got mine. But I happily invite you to tell us what a good parent you are, and how rules and parenting fit in the path of doing the best you can.

8 comments:

  1. I would have thought most of the rules start appearing in the teen years?

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  2. My mother was such a horrid parent I chose not to have children, afraid I too would be a horrid mother.

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  3. Having removed the twin parental 'nuclear options' from my toolkit of implement-based corporal punishment and pyrotechnical verbal abuse that were passed on to me, overall I would say that I try to abide by the more upbeat concepts that I was raised with, like reinforcing the positive as opposed to threatening the negative.

    The most important thing for me is not to shield a kid from the consequences of their actions - If they're f*cking up at school, bye bye summer fun until the work is caught up, and so on.
    Displays of socially unacceptable behavior means a confiscation of treasure and the dreaded 'lecture', over which some adults have opined that a beating with a golf club would be preferable...

    ;>)

    I don't think I'm a very good parent - far too anti-authoritarian with no desire to change, for example...But all I can do is my best.

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  4. I aspire to be as good a parent as my parents. Especially my dad.

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  5. Although I am not a parent, I am a preschool teacher and the general rule is that you should only have 3-5 rules in your classroom. I figured that the same should be said for your home as a parent. I figure 3-5 means the kids can easily remember and abide by all of the rules and the parents can have a set number of rules that need to be followed. And the rules may change as the children age, but I am not sure the number should change. Just my thoughts as a non-parent. Oh, and I like your rules BG they seem to be fair and good ones, IMHO.

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  6. Margaret8:23 AM

    Three rules (via Montessori):
    Respect yourself
    Respect others
    Respect the environment
    That covers everything, and allows for fruitful discussions and problem-solving: want to paint on the dining room table? How can you do that and keep it clean? Your sister is bugging you and won't stop? What words can you use to respectfully remind her that she's not respecting you? Parental help in guiding the problem solving is often needed, but eventually it becomes second nature...

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  7. I'm finding that I parent more like my mom did than I expected. No shock there, right? But her philosophy was that she should raise us to be independent creatures, capable of taking care of ourselves. I guess that wasn't such a bad thing. And now that's one of my favorite things about my kids. They aren't clingy, needy, helpless people. Turns out I'm pretty proud of that.

    Knowing you, I'm sure you're an excellent mom.

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  8. I have done a lot of things wrong and a lot of things right. After becoming a parent I discovered the tendency I had to make rules rather than set boundaries. The outward difference may not be apparent, but the inward one is to me.

    I think it's a part of teaching my children (and myself, since I am also parenting myself) to set an example that:

    It's ok to change your mind.
    It's important to tell the truth.
    People are more important than things.


    More mundanely, these are the rules that exist, but are not really unable to never be broken (at least in our house):

    No name calling.
    No hitting (there is a fine line between wresting and hitting amongst bear cubs), but that which is differentiable is not supposed to happen. It does, though.

    If I can do what DB refers to, allowing children to face their own consequences, then I will avoid a lot of the mistakes I have seen my parents make with my brothers. Unfortunately (but not too much) they didn't bail me out. They cut me off.

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