if you could only make one rule

Riana - posted on 04/19/2010 ( 15 moms have responded )




OK so they say ("they" being the smart people) that you should keep rules to a minimum as it is dificult for children to remember all 101 of your rules. Advice is usually to limit rules to the most basic so what I want to know is if you could have only one rule - what would it be?

My house has only one rule but it would be interesting to see what other moms would come up with...


Riana - posted on 04/21/2010




My one rule is - Respect

Only that and nothing else, as it works for absolutely anything. It starts with respect for yourself (including healthy eating habits, and personal hygiene - no peeing on the carpet LOL) respect for your belongings (put your toys away, don't break them, no throwing things that are not meant to be thrown) respect for you parents (listening the first time I ask something, helping out around the house, no whining) siblings (definitely no fighting) and our belongings (no writing on the wall ect). Respect for strangers, friends and family (good manners) and their belongings (no stealing or breaking things, sharing toys, playing nicely).

You can almost address all behaviour by referring to respect. However it has proved fairly challenging as a golden rule as it is a very difficult concept for small children to understand!

It all started when Annika was 4, and I was giving her this long speech regarding some or other behaviour that is now long forgotten and she stopped me half way and said “But Mommy what does respect mean?” and I was stunned to silence as I could not come up with a simple straight forward definition of what respect means LOL

I then proceeded to seek advice from friends, family and dictionaries regarding the definition of respect and finally came up with my own

Respect is if you admire someone/something and you truly appreciate them/it and as a result of this admiration and appreciation you treat them/it in a way that shows that they/it is/are important to you

This proved to be a little too complicated for a 4yo so we simplified it to:

Respect is if it is truly important to you what someone else feels and thinks.

Poor Annika, have had to live thru a million repetitions of these words, and it eventually faded to the background.

Then just the other day, I caught myself saying to Kobus (ironically then also 4) “What you are doing is disrespectful” followed by a blank expression, I said “Do you know what respect means?” blank, and I just had to laugh.

But since then I have thought it through again and decided that this is my one rule, if I fail at everything else, the one thing I want to teach my kids is to be respectful.

I realise that most of your children are fairly young and it is a huge concept to try and teach them, but it does offer a very simple rule to identify acceptable and unacceptable behaviour. The point at the end of the day for me is I prefer preventing problems to solving problems but can’t follow you around all day to tell you what is acceptable and unacceptable (that and I am still trying to figure it out myself); therefore I want you to start thinking about the implications of your actions. I do not expect you to always make the right choices; I just need you to start thinking about the choices you make.

For Amelie (my 18 month old niece) it might mean having a tantrum is disrespectful to yourself as I can’t understand what you are trying to say to me and would really like to understand your needs. Or hitting you friend is not nice and it is disrespectful and makes her feel hurt and sad.

For Kobus (5yo) it means no hitting, fighting, breaking, whining or playing rough with my dogs (as it is disrespectful towards the people, things and animals involved).

For Annika (8yo) it means no back chatting you dad (out of love and respect for him) but also you are welcome and even encouraged to voice your opinions as long as you do it politely (out of respect for yourself and your need to be heard in life).

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LOL Here I find myself saying "tell me with your hands if you aren't going to use your words!!" Since the almost three year old, my son and the 14 month old all know a decent amount of signing.
Use your words used to be my mantra but I found they weren't responding to it the way other groups have and I think its because they haven't made the correlation that their hands are making words too!


Meghan - posted on 04/19/2010




Great question Riana! The only rule I really have besides the obvious is no whining! It's like nils on a chalk board for me. Of course, this is a hard one and when Josh does whine I just tell him "I really can't understand you when you whine. Use your big boy voice please" and I ignore him until he does use a proper voice. And I haven't run into this one yet with my son but my ex's son was older and he wasn't allowed to ask me for something again after I said no. Example if he wanted a cookie before dinner would say not right now but after you eat dinner. If he asked again I would give him a warning. The 3rd time there where no cookie period. I don't know if that is extreme but after a while he knew not to do it and took me seriously...and went to ask his dad lol

I agree with Dana, you have me really curious now!


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Connie - posted on 04/22/2010




Having a daycare with ages 0-9yrs, I have to keep the rules simple and applicable to everyone. They are:

-No touch TV (all electronics around there)

-Sit in seats (no standing/squirming/turning around)

-Cars on carpet (after them scratching up all the woodwork)

-Hands, feet and bodies to ourselves (add bodies this year due to some headbutting and body slamming by one of the boys)

-Don't take toys from your friends

-No chasing animals (even the birds and wild rabbits will come pretty close to the kids because of this)

-You get what you get and you don't throw a fit. (for the older kids)

-Nice touch (for the little ones)

-No climbing (these 3 in the house)

-No running

-No throwing

And that's it. Individual situations will arise, but these basic rules cover most of what happens. I can simply state the rule rather than pick out one child's behavior, and they can alter their behavior. Since all the kids hear the same thing since birth, the little ones seamlessly conform as their behavior meets up with the expectations.

Meghan - posted on 04/21/2010




lol, respect bumps! awesome, Joshua and I do that to but we take the Jersey Shore apporach...lol

Respect is a great rule!! It is hard for young ones to understand but it's like anything we do..repeat repeat, repeat. I find myself saying "unacceptable" to Joshua lots. I choose not to tell him he is bad or his behavior is bad..it's unnaceptable. He tries to say it now..septable...he walks around and says "septable mommy, septable" and shakes his head.

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Serious is good......I can be a drill sargeant at times......LOL! RESPECT is a great motto to sum up all the rules! Roxanne's 19 months so I'm gonna hold off for a bit, but trust me, there will come a day! LOL!

Funny story: Roxanne and her daddy do ' knuckle bumps ' and in our house they're called ' respect bumps '.......it's quite cute but obviously she doesn't grasp the concept just yet!

Riana - posted on 04/21/2010




Can you see that I have given this a considerable amount of thought over a considerable amount of time? LOL

I promise that I'm not always this serious ;-)

Haley - posted on 04/20/2010




My daughter is two. I would have to go with either NO HITTING or NO SCREAMING. She likes to play rough so hitting for her is at times an issue. And the obvious reasons for the latter. :)

Jess - posted on 04/19/2010




Well Ava is only 8 months old. So other than safety issue's like "stop climbing the cot" the only constant rule we have is "stop throwing your dummy away" ! Ava is learning the hard way that throwing her dummy means she doesn't want it. 1 rule I wish I could enforce is "dont pee on the carpet", that would make my life so much easier.

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Oooh....good question Riana! Nicole, you stole the words right outta my mouth.......hmmmm......now what? Ummmmm....I can't think of anything else and I don't have time right now to sit in front of this computer and brainstorm so " I'll be back! "

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Rules... other then the running/throwing/climbing/screaming is for outside rule the only other rule I can put into words is the treat others how you would like to be treated.

The "if you wouldn't want it done to you, don't do it to each other" gets said a lot here.

Otherwise I am sure there are some random rules that crop up like "no playing in the toilet water" for obvious reasons ;)

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