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House Rules for Parents and Children

We never use pain, fear, deception, or humiliation to coerce behavior. Period. Hard stop. Other people may try to do it to us, but we don’t do it to each other.


Give a small number of good choices, teach cooperation, and parents, try to be patient when you are not getting your way. Help each other.


Parents, set limits wide enough so children can make mistakes but not so wide they could hurt themselves. This an art; not a science. Children, learn to make good decisions within the limits rather than craftier ways to evade them. Help your parents to know where the limits should be set.

Children, you will make more and more decisions for yourself as you get older. This is not as easy as it sounds. Learn well. Parents, you will make fewer and fewer decisions as they get older. This is also not as easy as it sounds. Take heart.


Limit screen time (TV, video games, and phones) to the bare minimum. Maximize your time together, sitting beside each other, reading, playing, drawing, building, cooking, cleaning up, exploring, and talking face to face about what you see, what you do, and what you feel.


When mistakes are made, name it as such and ask why it happened that way. Learn from the mistakes. Take responsibility or assign responsibilities to fix them. This might include making an apology; from child to parent, parent to child, or parent to parent.


Thank you, I love you, and I’m sorry should be regular in the vocabulary.


Notice what needs to be done and do it. Ask what you can do to help each other.


Every day is a new day. Some of us are learning to be parents as others are learning to be grown ups. Both take a long time. Again, be patient


Trust everyone is trying to do their best. Try to do your best. Be kind.


Paste these on the fridge. Talk about them together. Practice them.

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