Being from the south, I was raised to say “yes, sir” and “no, sir.” It wasn’t until recently that I discovered that not every family teaches this to their kids. This is a rule in our home and we make sure our kids respond appropriately and respectfully. Different families have different rules founded on what we think is best for our kids.
Regardless of what rules you have in your home, we have found it successful to let our kids participate in developing discipline rules. Allowing kids to participate in setting boundaries and consequences gives them accountability and ownership of the rules. In order to let them participate, sit down and discuss this with them in an age-appropriate manner. Here are 3 discipline rules for your kids to participate in.
1. Connected Consequences
If your son gets in trouble while playing his Xbox, make sure the consequence is connected to the crime. It’s not helpful if you discipline him for a broken Xbox rule by making him scrub the toilets (not a bad punishment, just not connected). Connecting the consequence means he loses Xbox privileges for a set amount of time. Sit down together with your kids and let them participate in establishing rules and consequences connected to different areas of tension in your home. This conversation should be about “if/then” statements. “If” you do _______, “then” this is the consequence. Keep track of these and the next time your kids break the rules, they’ll already know the consequences. This also releases you from the stress of having to come up with a consequence on the spot.
2. Throwing Fits
We all know adults who throw fits to get what they want. And we don’t want our kids to become them. So setting clear boundaries around fits for your kids will help them better control their emotions and reactions. We have a rule in our house that our kids repeat to us: “We do not throw fits to get what we want.” They participate in this rule every time a fit is thrown. They know that whatever they are wanting is immediately off the table and that they are free to continue to throw a fit as much as they want sitting on their beds. Having them participate in the middle of the breakdown slows everyone down, even mom and dad, from overreacting. The key is talking to them before a fit happens, not in the middle of one. When a fit begins, we make our kids say the rule out loud: “We do not throw fits to get what we want.” They participate in defusing the situation.
3. Contracts and Agreements
On iMOM, you can find cell phone contracts or social media contracts to use with your kids. Like any contract, go over each line along with consequences if rules are broken. If both parties agree, you both sign it. Rules are clear and agreed upon. If the contract is for cell phones, frame the contract, and put it near the family charging station. While this may be overkill, it is teaching them a life skill and letting them feel the pain when rules are broken.
Sound off: What are some ways you let your kids get involved in making rules around the house?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and let them help establish some rules and consequences.