We love finding commonality with government agencies, perhaps we are truly entering a golden age!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention files this under parenting “essentials“:
- Identify the family rules
- Explain the rules
- Follow the rules
- Use consequences for not following the rules
The CDC also recommends “For young children, focus on only two or three of the most important rules at any one time.” What are the two or three rules in your home?
A household adhering to the NAP starts with “No aggression”. This means no initiation of force against persons or property (plus the ‘threats and fraud’ addendum).
As far as “rules for children”, we’re on familiar ground. Google “family / house rules”. Most will include minor variations on “No lying, no hitting/hurting, and ask permission to use something that doesn’t belong to you.” That’s the NAP.
The CDC recommends having consequences for not following the rules. (If there are no consequences for breaking a rule, can it be said that there is a rule at all?) But the CDC also reminds us that family rules are for everyone in the family! What a concept! It’s important that parents demonstrate to their children that there are consequences if the parents lie, cheat, steal, or initiate physical force. We want our kids to know that we take these things seriously, and that we hold ourselves accountable to our declared standards of behavior.
If the child is lying or hurting people physically, we seek an apology, restitution, we re-discuss and clarify the rules, figure out what went wrong, and help them commit to better decisions in the future. If we lie to our children, if we hurt our children, or resort to the initiation of force to gain compliance, should we not follow the same protocol? How do we hold ourselves accountable? Start by answering these questions with your partner/spouse, and share this discovery process with your children to build trust and add to the culture of accountability. What is love, after all, without trust, accountability, fidelity to shared principles?
From the Constitution to Bastiat, Aristotle to Jesus, and now the CDC, this idea is only getting stronger as we evolve: that humans are equal, have equal rights, and that simply means the rules apply to everyone.
More from the CDC:
All family members should follow the family rules, given they are “family” rules. Young children learn a lot about what is expected by watching the adults in their lives. This means they look to their parents to know how to behave. For example, if you are respectful and listen to other adults, you can teach your child to listen to adults.
Your child’s behavior will be better if all caregivers support the rules in the same way. This is true for parents, grandparents, or any other caregivers in your child’s life.
When family rules are always enforced, your child’s behavior and your relationship will be better. Family rules should receive an immediate response when broken. Consequences for breaking family rules should be clear to the parent and child.
There are several steps that can help all family members be consistent.
- Parents can talk about what rules would help their family and agree which ones to set.
- Parents can post the rules in the house so everyone can know them.
- Parents can have conversations with other adults who care for their children about the rules. This helps make sure everyone knows what is allowed and not allowed.
- Parents can ask all caregivers to be consistent in monitoring and enforcing the rules.
- Parents can remind children about the rules. Repeating the rules and posting them in the home are all good ways to remind children of the rules.