I developed a handful of rules when I was a single mom; to keep my house in order; well at least some assimilation of order. When Too Tall and I merged households, it was important that we agree on the basic house rules. Examining a few hot topics early on helped us to successfully blend our family together. Money, discipline, and traditions belong in our top three. Your marriage should always come first because it is the strong stable backbone of the family. Addressing these topics in a marriage can help achieve the optimum happily ever after. We found a couple magnets that live on our fridge and they sum up our basic house rules. Feel free to adopt one or all!!
Rules of Our House
• Be nice or leave. It isn’t a literal statement for the kids. I was a victim domestic violence in a previous relationship. This is a reminder to be conscious every day not to let that into my life, house, or world ever again. Plus, if you aren’t being nice what is the point?!
• If you open it, close it. Super simple, yet oh so forgotten.
• If you turn it on, turn it off. Seriously, have you seen the August electric bills in Texas?!
• If you unlock it, lock it. We feel safe in our neighborhood. The kids play in the streets, but life isn’t perfect and our safety is paramount.
• If you break it, fix it. Often better said than done.
• If you can’t fix it, report it. I don’t know about your kids, but our kids often avoid this one altogether. They also aren’t of being grounded…
• If you borrow it, return it. My mother keeps telling me, I broke this one all the time as a teenager. I suppose karma will come to visit in a couple of years.
• If you make a mess, clean it up. They often need prompting, but overall our kiddos have this one down. We introduced the “Earn it Back Box” to gently push them in the right direction.
• If you move it, put it back. Our remote control doesn’t get lost anymore! Well, I wish that was the case. This one is a daily challenge with Chicken Wing and Oui-Oui.
• If it doesn’t concern you, don’t mess with it. Whoa, blending a family together automatically creates nosy kids (even if they pretend not to be). I can’t count how many times each kid has been told to “stay out of it” when we are addressing the other child in various situations. Also, the natural normal ways of children are to explore. I must remind myself of the fine line between exploration and flat out disrespect for the rules.
• If you don’t know, ask. By far my absolute favorite rule we have. Ask! We work daily to parent with both love and logic. We respect ourselves by requiring respect from our children. We can always explain why a rule is made or the reasons the rule protects our family. Kids won’t always understand; I know I didn’t when I was a kid. We build trust and respect in our home by having rules.
Bottom line: Rules matter.