Arbitrary Rules

I realized last week I have a whole bunch of rules for my kids that have no real rhyme or reason to them- they were likely created in a lack of coffee haze or I will lose it if you ask for X one more time  rage and somehow managed to stick.

Honestly, I always thought I'd be a bit cooler as a parent. 

Pre-kids, I was positive I'd be relaxed with the "rules"- I always felt I had too many rules as a kid, although looking back I think my parents were pretty fair and not nearly the crazily strict monsters I made them out to be in my head. Post-kids? I think I'm actually more strict than I ever imagined I would be - fair, for the most part, but strict. 

And yet, as I was taking stock of our household recently, I wondered if I really needed all the rules I've imposed on my kids for no reason at all... or if it's those rules that have actually allowed me to maintain my sanity as I juggle a work-at-home job with having two (very strong willed) boys at home with me

Here's just a small peek into the window of my arbitrary rule making:

  • no television before 8:30am (no clue why I made this rule- it would be so much easier for sleepy Sarah to just let them watch some cartoons in the morning)...and then, just to make it even harder on me...
  • everyone must be dressed before the television goes on
  • no juice before 11am (again, no rhyme or reason...just seemed like an ok time to have juice)
  • no dessert after dinner (I think I made this rule after we had some ice cream one night and no one slept until 9:30pm. Now, if we are going to have dessert, we have it before dinner. I know, makes no sense!)
  • no games on mommy's phone (I'm a real stickler about this one, and I'm not sure why- they'd probably be better behaved if I let them play on my phone occasionally)
  • everyone must hug after an argument (they hate this, I think it actually causes more arguments in the end, and yet I still make them hug it out)
  • maximum one piece of gum each day (this is super hard for the 3 year old who is known to swallow his -aspartame free, don't worry- gum...but I can't for the life of me remember why I made up this rule because my kids hardly ever have gum as it is)
  • no flip flops (again, no clue why I made up this rule but I recently loosened my reigns on this one and bought the kids flip flops for the summer...providing they don't run in them)
  • only ONE episode of Sheriff Callie each day (my 3 year old is obsessed with this show and wants to watch the same episodes over and over and over and over and over and over and over- this is one arbitrary rule I'm sticking with!)

Of course, there are a lot of "normal" rules that I'm pretty lax on (clean rooms? meh. your room, your mess, as long as there are no living creatures or fungal growths I'm ok) and some arbitrary rules that I take away pretty much right after I make them because I realize how ridiculous/irritating they are (I had a rule about not eating in the living room that I gave up on after a day because it made my life infinitely harder than it needed to be). There have been rules my kids have talked me out of (yes, fine, you can pick up the cats if you promise to be gentle) and rules I won't give up on no matter how difficult they make my life (learning enough self control and patience to sit still for at least 5 minutes without devices to distract is something I'm big on).

I don't have any plans to remove my arbitrary rules for the time being- they work, generally speaking, for our family- but it's interesting how and why we make the rules we do. 

So tell me, what are some arbitrary (silly) rules you have made up for your kids in the interest of saving your sanity?


  1. Here are a few of ours:

    1) don't leave your room until 7 am
    2) get dressed before leaving your room
    3) have breakfast before playtime
    4) don't tattle if only your feelings were hurt. Tell them how it makes you feel.
    5) don't hump, grope, junk punch, pinch your brothers. .. no explanation necessary.
    6) the more times you ask the greater your chance of getting in trouble for it.

  2. Ruth aka GrandmaJuly 21, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    Yes, it takes 'becoming a parent yourself' to understand the challenges parents face!


 photo copyright.jpg
envye template.