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Parenting: Tips on how to establish and enforce rules at home

Parenting - By Derrick Oluoch | November 27th 2020 at 08:10:00 GMT +0300
Rules help create boundaries that mold and teach your children correct behavior (Shutterstock)

As a parent, you need to know that you are the biggest influencer in the lives of your little ones. Well, your teenager might not admit that you are their biggest influence considering the chunk of influences out there, but you still hold a dear spot when it comes to mentoring your children.

A survey by drugsfree.org revealed that children whose parents taught them that underage drinking was unacceptable actually were up to 80% less likely to take alcohol. This statistic portrays the importance of being straightforward with messages about alcohol and drugs to your children, particular to teenagers.

Rules are important to children as they help keep them stay safe and teach them how to function at home, at school and in the society. Your teenager is no doubt trying to carve his or her own independence but they are only going to move towards that independence if they understand the rules and expectations of their parents.

When you have a set of rules in your home, you create boundaries that mold and teach your children correct behavior. With rules in the house, the children get to learn what is acceptable and what isn’t by abiding to the guidelines you have set in the home.

Here, we look at some tips that can help you enforce rules at your home and ultimately protect your little ones as laid out by Debbie A. Heaton, an author and parent educator.

Define the rules

Don’t wait to make up rules only when you need to enforce them. Case in point, scolding your child at the door for not putting on shoes when they are stepping outside to play yet you have not made it clear that they shouldn’t leave the house without shoes.

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Together with your partner, you need to agree and decide on the mundane parenting matters. As you decide on what matters most and need to be enforced in the house, remember to consider self-care rules such as brushing teeth, responsibility rules like probably keeping their toys away after playing, and expectations outside the home, like how they should behave when out with friends or at school.

Once you’ve set the rules, explain them to your children and have them understand them. Remember that, depending on the age of your children, you might have to model the task in the rule with them a couple times before they eventually register the concept.

Avoid setting so many rules

The rules you are setting are for children and you only have a higher chance of effectively having them follow the rules if there isn’t a long list of demands and expectations.

Other than confusing them and making them feel chocked with endless guidelines, having so many rules also sends the wrong message that you don’t trust your children to be able to act appropriately. Only include what is most important and effective.

Depending on the age of your children, you might have to model the task in the rule with them (Shutterstock)

Give the kids a say in the rules

When children feel like they are integral members of the family, they are likely to behave and be good. The same applies to toddlers who burn with a desire to help. To make your little one feel not only important but also part of the decision making, you can decide together what their small special job in the house will be.

If they are older, you can sit them down and list the things that need to be done in the house and have them decide on the ones they feel they can take on.

Also, you can consider having a family meeting to give everyone an opportunity to express their opinions on the making of rules.

Be consistent

For your children to follow the rules all the time, you need to be consistent. For instance, if you set a rule that all homework is done right after school, you shouldn’t loosen up and have your child put off their homework until after dinner a few times a week. This will make your child wonder whether you really mean it the day you’ll decide to stricter.

As you work on enforcing the rules, remember to also play your part as a parent. Abide by the family rules you set and be a role model for that behavior you are trying to enforce.

Focus on the Do’s rather than the Don’ts

If you are always saying no, your children are bound to somewhat get immune to it. As thus, it is important that you emphasize the behavour you are trying to encourage in your children.

It common to find your little ones testing the boundaries so when you see them about to break a rule, always step up and show them the right path. Instead of yelling No! You can instead ask them what they think they should be doing instead.

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