Sunday, February 26, 2012

Family rules and consequences

My child, listen when your father corrects you.
Don’t neglect your mother’s instruction. What you learn from them will crown you with grace
and be a chain of honor around your neck. (Proverbs 1:8, 9 NLT)

We have family rules posted on the wall in the family room. It seems strange, I know, but hear me out: I'm an elementary and junior high teacher. It is my job to hold my students accountable to our school's code of conduct. Rules are posted in each classroom and are easily referred to if a student's behavior is in question. So it makes perfect sense for me to keep my family's behavior expectations out in the open for all to see.

I found these printable rules from this shop on Etsy. All 6 rules hang in inexpensive black 5x7 frames I found at Meijer's.

Each rule is matched with a Bible verse. This helps reinforce the idea that the rules aren't just our family rules but God's rules.

When a rule is broken, I walk Maddie or Ava to the wall and ask them to point to the rule that's been broken. Sometimes I need to give a hint, such as, "It's the red one." Then we recite the rule together, including the verse.

After a rule is broken a consequence is given. My theory is that if something has been taken away from the family due to bad attitude or behavior, something positive must be done to replace it. The consequences are extra chores, such as wiping baseboards or cleaning the bathroom mirror.

The next step is to apologize and ask for forgiveness. This one is tough for two reasons: first, because it's hard to get toddlers to say they're sorry, and second, because I usually forget. But it's an important step that signals an end to the episode. I want the girls to learn that once you've apologized or forgiven someone, it's over-- you don't need to carry it with you anymore. Everyone gets a fresh start.

The very last step is to pray with mom and dad. This is another step that's often forgotten in the rush of the day. But it's perhaps he most important piece to the rule system. I want my children to learn that they can always talk to God about anything and ask His help in becoming a better daughter of Christ.

So there it is: out family rules and consequences system. How does your family handle rules and consequences?

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