Family Rules

1.  In our family we keep people, and other living things’,  bodies safe.

This means no hitting, pinching, pushing; anything that would hurt the body of ourselves, or another living being.

2.  In our family we we keep people’s feelings safe.

This rule means no name-calling, blaming, put-downs, blaming, shaming or sarcasm.

3.  In our family we use things the way they are supposed to be used.

This rule means means that we don’t throw books or baseball mitts.  We write and draw on paper rather than on walls and furniture.

4.  In our family children do what their grown up tells them to do.

Please note that the rule sates “their grown up” not “a grown up.”  “Their grown up” is their parent, always, their nanny, sitter or grandparent when their parent says so, and their teacher when at school.

It is more effective to tell children what you want rather than what you don’t want.  It is also more effective to tell children when you really want them to do something, and only ask them if they want to do something when they have a choice.

Key idea:  Having and posting these four family rules helps children remember what to do.  After they learn these rules, they can be reminded which rule they need to follow.  When they misbehave, they can be asked what rule they needed to remember.  When they are asked what rule they need to remember the desired behavior is reinforced rather than asking them what they did wrong, which reminds them of the unwanted behavior.


Melody Matthews Lowman, M.A. has a background in both psychology and education. Her biopsychosocial approach allows her to be a resource for behavioral and educational problem solving for children, teens and adults.
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