Monday, February 9, 2009

House Rules

My Pirate Sailing flag & Family Motto (just kidding)

We were honored to be asked today for the rules we have at our house. Friends of ours want to establish a new beginning with their child and asked us to tell them what is working for us. I'm no parental authority when it comes to kids. I just analyze the situation and make a plan accordingly. Sometimes I get it right, other times it's a scratch and we start over. So I was deeply honored to be asked. Thanks guys!
Over the years the rules have changed or been eliminated depending upon the age range and maturity. Everyone from Jess & Jordan, the camp kids, the girls this summer, to our three have had some version of the rules. I'm firm but fair when it comes to the rules and a lie will get you in more trouble than if you fess up and face the music. Of course tween kid rules are vastly different than teenage dating daughter rules. House rules are different than outside rules. You get the picture!

I keep them short and simple, too. Young, developing minds can only grasp so much. The experts will tell you that when correcting an adopted child that you must keep things simple and not too much information at once. Anything more you start to sound like Charlie Brown's teacher and you get that "deer in the headlights" look. We keep it to 10 short sentences. The rules are as follows:

  1. Be nice to everyone.
  2. Keep your room tidy and make your bed every morning.
  3. If you make a mess, clean it up immediately.
  4. Return your things to your room after use.
  5. Turn off lights, water, radio, television when not using them.
  6. Eat only in the Kitchen and at the tables.
  7. Wash hands before and after eating and when returning from outside.
  8. Children will do dishes, clear table, and sweep after every meal.
  9. This is your home, take care of it.
  10. Obey Mama and Papa when you are told to do something.
Rule number one has always stayed the same and is a cornerstone for all the rules to follow. It all hinges on rule #1. When someone acts up or starts an argument usually all we have to do is call his or her name and they respond, "I know, rule number one". The other day I heard Kolya telling Nadia to obey rule #1. Don't ya just love it when they get it!

Rule number 10 is my catch 22. If I missed a rule or something new happens, I pull that one out! That way, I don't have to hear Nadia tell me,
"Papa, take out trash is no rule!"
"Ah yes it is sweetie! See rule number 10!"
"Is no fair, rule number 10!"
"Hey, hey, Nadia! Remember rule number 1!"
"Me know, me know, BEEEEE NICCCEEEEE, Ughh!" (with a roll of the eyes)

See how that works!

Each child has a copy of the rules pinned on their bedroom wall. There is a copy on the fridge in case they need another look. One day while Lilya was here, I had them all write the rules in Ukrainian just below the English sentence. They can't tell me that they don't understand the rules. "Nyet poni-my-yo" doesn't cut it, sister!

I'd be interested in hearing what rules you have established at your home. Perhaps I will adapt them to ours. Yours may be verbal or understood. You might have a list like we do or maybe anything goes at your place. No one family is exactly alike and different circumstances dictate different outcomes. Our three need structure and rely on the 10 rules to guide them out of trouble, or into it as it always seems.

Gotta run, some one's yelling that someone else is violating rule #6 and munching on a peanut 3 inches outside the safe food eating area! Danger Will Robinson, DANGER!

~ Felix ~


Conethia and Jim Bob said...

Great rules! I believe golden rule #10 was always the staple in my parents house. I might have to borrow your list.

Christine said...

Pretty much same rules here-- but i should right them down because I think it would make it much easier. ;) See, I always learn something new.

Jim and Kari said...

1. Be kind (after the Roges)

I read a book once called something like How to Stop Whining and Complaining in You and Your Kids. Three rules:
1. Treat others special.
2. Do more than is expected.
3. Do everything with a good attitude.
I'll never forget those, it covers everything.

Natasha said...

You are hilarious; I LOVE reading your blogs!!! I guess we will have to write some rules down when we come back; for now our kids had learned what we really care for from when they were babies, so I'm sure it'll be different with our new kiddos.

Matt and Aimee Garrett said...

I'm super simple: shut up and be clean! "shut-up" covers 95% of everything! :) Matt

Rolan, Eileen, Josh and Ransom said...

I'm starting to approach 100. Think I'm getting too wordy?
I guess "Keep your eyebrows plucked" number 87 is going a little too far.

About Us

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Longmont, Colorado, United States
Heidi loves to play sand volleyball, sail and garden. Felix loves to fly at the local aeroclub, sail and fish.