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5 Simple Rules for My Family that I Hope will Make a Positive Difference

When my husband became a teacher, he hung a poster up in his classroom detailing “expectations” for his students. They were simple, handwritten sentences that he had me look at, because as a math teacher, spelling is not his forte. I remember being impressed by his reports that despite the fact that his students thought the rules were silly, they responded well to them.

Every time students walked into his classroom, they were reminded of the rules. And any time a classroom rule was violated, it was easy to point out how the action had gone against what they had collectively decided were appropriate. The method was straightforward and effective.

And it makes sense, right? If we set expectations for each other, we’re more likely to know what’s expected of us. So it was with a slight sense of shame that I realized I had gone almost 10 years as a parent without setting any sort of family rules or expectations for our family.

My decision to get motivated and establish family rules was spurred on by a visit I made to a therapist while feeling particularly lost in my parenting. She helped me see that my kids were feeling lost, too. Had we ever talked about expectations as a family? Did the kids know what the "rules" were? Was there a discussion together about what our family's priorities were? Um, no. Whoops.

I had gone along assuming my children knew the unspoken rules of how I wanted my family unit to run. But let’s face it, they’re freaking kids who can’t read my mind. I was getting so upset when my children weren’t acting the way I thought they should, but without a clear set of expectations, maybe they were as lost as I was.

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