How to Set Rules to Your Children


Parents have the authority to make rules that children are required to follow. Parents also have the responsi­bility to make rules that will benefit a child.

Authority and responsibility go hand in hand. As long as you are responsible (legally, spiritually, financially, physically, morally) for your child, you have parental authority. In other words, as long as you are paying your child’s way in life, you have the authority to make sure your child takes care of possessions and limits purchases to things that meet your approval. As long as you have legal responsibility for your child, you have the authority to make certain that he or she obeys the law and respects all those in leadership.

Children crave rules, although they may never admit it in so many words. Why? Because rules provide both freedom and security.

Set Rules Children

Rules provide freedom? Yes, they establish bound­aries in which freedom can reign. Consider the parent who says, “You may ride your bike up to the end of the sidewalk. You may not go into the street or ride on the lawns.” Or, “You may play any place you want to in the backyard.” Those are options a child can embrace and in which a child can create, explore, and move without fear.

Rules also help establish a world of known behaviors and their consequences. “Leave the backyard, and you will face punishment.”

Rules help establish a world in which it’s safe to try out new things. “You can make anything you want with this clay, but you must keep the clay on the table.”

Rules help establish the boundaries of a relationship. “You may not speak to your mother in that tone of voice.”

Rules help establish the limits of a parent’s expecta­tions. “You must make your bed” carries with it the unspoken implication that the child is not expected to make all the beds or clean the entire house.

Make certain that a child knows the rules by which the family is to operate. Describe your expectations, establish the boundaries, and state and restate rules as often as necessary.

Make certain that you are consistent, persistent, and fair about rules. That means establishing appropriate and fair punishments for broken rules. That means pun­ishing a child each time the rule is broken willfully.

Let children know why you are punishing them. Re­state the rule. Better yet, ask children to tell you why they think they are being punished.

A child who has the security of rules, which are con­sistently and persistently applied, knows that Mom and Dad care enough to restrain, constrain, and train.

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About the Author: Roberta Southworth is a psychiatrist by profession. She likes to help out people by writing informative tips on how people can to solve their family and relationship issues. She is currently staying in Ireland. She has 5 years of couple counseling experience.

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