Parenting Rules You Don’t Have to Follow

Some of us were raised hearing – and eventually believing – that there are parenting rules we must always follow; no matter what. When we fail to follow those random parenting rules, we suddenly feel like mommy and daddy failures. Fortunately for those of us who are not quite perfect (um, guilty) most of these parenting rules are not such a big deal when broken. Here are three parenting rules not to freak out about breaking.

You Have to Punish the Kids

First of all, the word punish sounds awful. I prefer the word discipline. We aren’t punishing our kids; we’re teaching them a lesson using discipline. As a parent, you’re supposed to dish out the discipline, right? Wrong. It’s been proven quite effective that allowing children to devise their own discipline is actually a great resource. Try having a family meeting every few months to discuss discipline. Let the kids choose discipline for certain behaviors. The more involved they are in the making of the rules, the less likely they are to break them.

Allowance is Only for Chores

There’s a downside to this philosophy. When you pay kids to do chores, they’re only doing them for the money rather than because they’re a family unit who is learning to do things around the house because they’re considered good hygiene, cleanliness and teamwork. Teaching kids to load the dishwasher for money isn’t always a good idea. Teaching them to load the dishwasher because they made a dirty dish and it’s considerate to clean up after themselves no matter what teaches a much more valuable lesson.

Don’t Argue in Front of the Kids

Wrong, wrong, wrong! Debating and discussing things in which you differ in opinion in front of the kids teaches them that couples argue and they don’t always agree. It gives them a much more realistic idea of what marriage and partnership look like. Now, the key is to keep it clean. No foul language, no name calling, no below the belt anything. Debate. Discuss. Keep your voice down and keep your arguments productive. Listen to one another and respond in kind.

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