De­vel­op­ing fam­ily rules as a group

Central and North Burnett Times - - YOUR SAY - Wide Bay Hos­pi­tal and Health Ser­vices

SET­TING fam­ily rules may seem like an easy thing be­fore you have chil­dren, but what should the rules be? How many should there be and do you keep a list?

De­vel­op­ing con­sis­tent fam­ily rules that your chil­dren can un­der­stand and will fol­low is an im­por­tant method of en­cour­ag­ing them to look af­ter and treat other peo­ple ap­pro­pri­ately.

It’s a great idea to in­volve all fam­ily mem­bers in de­vel­op­ing fam­ily rules. Even a three-year-old is able to be in­volved as you can talk to them about the rules, what they’re for and en­cour­age them to come up with ideas. And yes, make a list so the rules are clear and not for­got­ten!

The rules your fam­ily comes up with need to be clear in set­ting lim­its and ex­pec­ta­tions of all fam­ily mem­bers. It’s im­por­tant that there’s con­sis­tency in how all sib­lings are treated.

Rules can cover many top­ics such as man­ners and po­lite­ness, re­spect­ing peo­ple and prop­erty, safety and well-be­ing.

A good start­ing point is to come up with some core (ba­sic or ground) rules that cover the whole fam­ily rather than spe­cific fam­ily mem­bers. These would in­clude “Treat each other re­spect­fully” and “Clean up af­ter you have made a mess”.

You want to guide your child’s be­hav­iour in a pos­i­tive way so hav­ing “do­ing” rules is a great idea. For ex­am­ple, “Ask be­fore tak­ing some­thing” and “Wear a seat­belt in the car”.

Some­times there is no way to phrase it pos­i­tively, such as “Don’t ap­proach a strange car”. Do in­clude these, but try not to have them out­num­ber pos­i­tive rules.

Re­mem­ber, while keep­ing a list is a good idea, mak­ing it too long can be prob­lem­atic. Keep rules sim­ple and clear so your child, espe­cially younger ones, can un­der­stand them.

It’s im­por­tant to have con­se­quences for break­ing rules. You should dis­cuss what will hap­pen if they’re bro­ken so your child will un­der­stand what to ex­pect.

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