Family Rules: 10 House Protocols
Here are 10 house protocols to help promote unity, transparency, and safety in your home:
1. Adults will learn new ways to handle parenting problems.
123 magic, relaxation station, timeout corner, etc. Do your own research on what would work for your household or contact us for coaching. Yelling is no longer a method of handling a problem. It is unproductive and teaches children that throwing fits is an acceptable way to handle frustration. Hitting is also unacceptable behavior. It is extremely difficult to train a child if you are acting like one. When the problem is with your partner, discuss it privately. If a disagreement is sparked and children walk into the room, the conversation ends on both sides. Wait until a more appropriate time to talk comes about.
Children do not understand the complexities of being an adult, especially a married adult. Fighting in front of them will scare them and force them to feel like they have to pick a side. This divides the house and breeds insecurity. Keep the partner bickering at a minimum and out of sight and/or earshot of the children.Jay Skeeters
2. Everyone uses direct communication.
Saying exactly what you think and feel makes listening and giving feedback much easier. This opens up the communication lines to a sharing of ideas, thoughts, and feelings more efficiently. Many adults were punished for saying exactly what they thought or felt as children so they adopted indirect communication to say what they needed to say without saying it. This is called indirect communication. Indirect communication is when a person chooses to act out what they really mean instead of saying it directly. They can use voice tone, gestures, or facial expressions. They do this to avoid being directly rejected, avoid arguments, be in the “safe” zone, and to ultimately save face. This cycle has to end as it can and will end a relationship.
With direct communication there are no hidden messages or pretenses within what is being said, saving the other person in the conversation from having to find or translate these hidden messages causing the communication to break down.Jay Skeeters
Giving too much information and just speaking about everything that passes through your mind is another no no. It is exhausting and overwhelming to listen to and doesn’t allow space for direct communication or thought. It is impossible for someone to pay attention to long drawn-out thoughts and still have brain space to do anything else but listen to your lecture. You do not have to say everything that is on your mind. Say what is important to you in a clear and concise manner and give space for feedback. Avoid long drawn out instructions and directions. People have a natural tendency to want to follow instructions but will surely fail given the layers of non-pertinent information that you pile on top of the important information. Keep it short and simple. If they have questions, they will ask.
This will be difficult at first if you are not used to communicating directly. You must allow whomever you are communicating with to speak honestly to you without punishing them for it. They will need to build the confidence to speak honestly, so even if you are angry or hurt by what they say, acknowledge that you appreciate their honesty and then give your honest feedback. Parents must speak truth and honesty to one another so that you can teach your children to do the same.
You must develop a better relationship with truth. The key to doing this is to always remember that the truth rarely, if ever, works in our favor. Once you are okay with this idea, you will seek out your partner for real advice because you know they won’t fail you.
3. No complaining unless you are going to do something about it.
This has been a rule of mine for a long time and has helped me change from being a problem-based thinker into a solution-based thinker. With this rule implemented, you are empowering yourself to take charge and to get out of victim or child-like mentality. Teaching this to young children allows them to be smarter and more capable in every way. If I express that I don’t feel well either to my wife or just keep it to myself, I do something about it. Lay down, drink tea, take something, it doesn’t matter as long as my action is moving towards a remedy or solution.
When your partner or children complain, it is good to show empathy and even more important for you to ask what a good solution would be. This gets them to think about the state that they are in, the state that they want to be in, and steps that they could take to get there. Parents, I’m not saying to tell your kids to deal with the solution on their own. They will need guidance and most likely some help but simply doing everything for them when they are complaining merely teaches them to cry every time they need something. Children turn into adults, but if they aren’t trained to find solutions, they remain dependent, child-like adults.
4. Sarcasm is not allowed.
Do not use sarcasm with kids. They don’t fully get it until around 8 years old and it is confusing because you are teaching them deception and passive aggression. Your words and body language should match your state. Saying “I’m fine” when you are obviously upset makes you look like the type of person who’s word cannot be trusted. It is a way better idea to look and express that you are upset in a vulnerable manner. This allows those who care about you to learn and apply empathy.
Learning empathy is important to children as they form relationships with family, friends, and peers.
Another example would be saying “nice job” when they make a mistake. This sends a very confusing message to a developing mind because you are saying the opposite of “nice job”. Now you are teaching mockery instead of guiding them toward a solution. This is unproductive and mean to do to a child who should be making mistakes while navigating through childhood.
When your child makes a mistake, be calm and identify where they went wrong. Level with them and help guide them toward a solution. They are trying the best that they can and it is our duty as parents to encourage trying. Keep your sarcasm to yourself or for somebody who gets it.
5. Everyone is expected to give their best effort in everything that they do.
This must be modeled AT ALL TIMES. If the children see you being lazy, not true to your word, or watch you quit, you are training them to replicate this behavior. Once they see quitting as an option, they will take it every time something is challenging to them. If this behavior has already been installed, you must incentivize effort and seeing things through to the end. Bribery works! I bribed my stepson to stay in the batters box and take swings during baseball games because he was scared of the ball being pitched at him.
Every time there was a pitch, he would immediately step out of the batters box to avoid the pitch, whether it was wild or not. I told him that if he swung within the batters box, I would take him to get ice cream. If he got a hit, I would take him out to eat. Two hits would get him a restaurant and ice cream. It worked like a charm and boosted his confidence in the sport.
I also bribed him to finish a steel works Ferris wheel that he did not want to finish. The smile and look of accomplishment when he finished was well worth the bribe. Allow them to see you struggle and persevere so they know that things are challenging for adults as well. Bottom line: If you say that you are going do something, put in your best effort and see it through to the end.
Those that spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them. Proverbs 13:24
I understand that spanking is looked poorly upon in today’s popular culture. “I thought you said that hitting was not allowed?” Yes, I did. Hitting and spanking are two completely different actions. The problem that I see in today’s society is that more and more children are lost than ever before. Many don’t understand the concept of boundaries, rules, laws, and moral codes.
I was once told, “Children are like credit cards, you pay now, or you pay later, but with interest.”Dr. Kellyn Hodges
The meaning behind this statement is that the stakes raise higher and higher as your children grow older. It may start with a call from the principle now, but it could lead to handcuffs later. Yeah, that is a dramatic comparison, but if we are always nonchalant with how we discipline our children, they can grow up into adults who do not respect others, themselves, and the laws of our society. It is okay to not want to spank your children. We don’t like it either, but when we give our word that spanking is the consequence of crossing certain boundaries, it has to be done. We must mean what we say–our children will love and respect you more for it in the long run. Consistency and transparency is key.
There are certain behaviors that cannot be tolerated. When these occasions arise at home, we talk to our son about the behavior and either use a time-out method, removal of favored items, or early bedtime. Our agreement is that when he is at school and misbehaves, he must let us know about the misbehaving before we receive notice from the school. My intention is to guide him to own up to his behaviors when we are not there to witness them. If he tells us of the behavior before we get notified from the school and was already reprimanded for it, we will talk about better options of behavior and move on.
The intention must be to guide new behavioral patterns. If misbehavior is repeated, we revisit the same conversation and he will have to go to bed early that evening. If we receive notice from the school that he was misbehaving and he has told us nothing about it, he will get 3 spankings on the bottom. That is our rule. He knows exactly what to expect with no surprises.
Here is how its done: When it is time to spank your child, you cannot be in an angry state. It is time to detach your child from the behavior–it is the behavior that is being given a consequence, not the child. In a calm voice, you will tell them the behavior that got them into trouble, why it is wrong, and what the agreement is should they engage in this behavior. I recommend letting them know how many spankings they are going to receive and once the number of spankings has been reached, it ends.
The behavior has been given a consequence and it is now time to reconnect with the child. He or she may be angry with you at first, but it is important that you tell them how much you love them and that even though they misbehaved, that they are still a good child and that it is your duty to protect the good child that they are from misbehaving because bad behavior always has consequences.
ALWAYS offer a hug after the discussion. If they refuse, don’t get mad, they need time to calm down. Let them know that it is over and whenever they are ready to rejoin the rest of the family, that you will be happy to have them there. Once it is done, it is your responsibility to let it go. If you still hold anger toward the behavior, then you must remove yourself to a quiet location until you have cooled off. Do not teach your child resentment because when they get to a certain age, the resentment can be turned around and can destroy the entire relationship. Keep any negative emotions OUT of it.
7. Connect with each other.
I know this doesn’t seem like a house rule, but with all of the distractions that we have around us at all times, this must be made a rule. Take the time out of your busy schedule to connect with your family. No phones, TV, computers, iPads, gaming systems, or any other electronic devices. It is time to play an interactive game or activity with your family.
Try these out: Sit in a circle, have one person stand up in the middle of the circle and everyone has to say 3 things that they love about the person standing in the circle. Write down all of the answers on paper. Not your phone–paper. After everyone has had a turn, restart the game and this time, say 3 activities that you would like to do with this person. Write down everyone’s answers.
At the end of this activity, transcribe the answers from the one sheet to an individual sheet for each person. Next, make a date for the activities that you want to do with this person individually. This interaction will not only give you the pressure of being vulnerable to say things that you probably rarely say, but it also gives each of you individual time to spend with the other doing an activity. This is great for building a bond.
Next interaction: Put together a puzzle. It doesn’t matter the size of the puzzle. This activity teaches patience and delayed gratification. This is extremely important for children to learn when we live in a society that is all about impulsivity and immediate gratification. Next interaction, play a board game or card game together. This again, promotes spending time with one another on one activity that everyone is a part of. The key to these activities is connection to each other instead of the internet.
8. Keep a routine.
Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Every morning should have a routine in place so that there are no surprises before work or school. In my house, we workout first thing in the morning. Choose any kind of workout that can be done together. Working out is a great way to start out the day and gets the kids moving around and burning some of that energy they stored up from sleeping. You don’t have to choose working out though, you can start the day out in any way that would benefit your family. It can be teaching them how to make their beds and tidy up their rooms before they come down for breakfast. It can be teaching them how to make their own breakfast.
Write whatever routine that best fits your family on a whiteboard so that the children have a checklist that they can mark off before they head out to school. Include getting dressed, brushing teeth, brushing hair, whatever you would like it to be. You can incentivize a schedule by telling the kids that if they check off everything that they are supposed to do before school, that you will do something special for them or with them. Having a routine work in your favor will take some of the stress out of the day and give the children some responsibilities. The incentives can make your children enjoy these responsibilities in preparation for the day and make you look like a super parent. Parents also need to schedule time together. Date night is crucial to the survival of a relationship.
Get dressed up, go out, and enjoy being two people that love one another and are sharing a life together. Don’t become roommates. Schedule it, make it happen.Jay Skeeters
9. All internet use is under parental control.
This topic is extremely important to the safety of your house. Your children are not ready for world exposure. I would argue that most adults are not ready for world exposure. Keep the innocence of your children age-appropriate and communicate with them on confusing or dangerous topics that cannot wait until they are more mature. When boys hit puberty, they are curious about the body among many other things. Having free access to the internet can install information that they will not understand completely without a parent there to explain.
Allowing free access to the internet world also means allowing free access of the internet world to your child. Predators are real and they are a threat. They can capture your information as quickly as you click onto another site. Predators can find you, pictures of your kids, home address, phone numbers, and any other information that you have entered onto the web. Keep your kids safe from the internet.
10. Everyone ready.
I saved the last rule to be the most important. Everyone plans on things going well, but what happens when things don’t go well? Each house should have a plan of emergency. Fire drills are not just for school. You should have a fire escape plan in place and drilled every so often. The same goes for an intruder. The adults in the house should have an idea of what they plan on doing if an intruder came into the home. It doesn’t matter what kind of security alarms you have, systems need to be put in place should an emergency ever happen.
Adults should have at least a basic understanding of first aid and CPR. There are classes being taught all over the place so finding a training site is easy and all parents should get the proper training. If you have a firearm in the house, you should know the rules to firearm safety, have proper training, and your children should know what to do if you had to use your firearm. You can hire an instructor to come out to your house and give you a solid plan of action for any emergency situation –but don’t wait until an emergency hits before you create your plan. Keep your house and everyone in it safe and ready for an emergency.
As you can see, the growth never ends for anyone. Parents, it doesn’t matter how we were raised as children. We may be engaging in negative behaviors that are incongruent with how we would like our family dynamics to be. You are trying the best you can, but why not look into improving your capabilities of being a partner and parent? If you want to know more, sign up with a mindset coach or counselor and create the home life that you want and your children deserve.
Check out these Warrior Kid books below to involve your child in becoming the best version of themselves:
Jay Skeeters, BA, NSCA-CPT
Jay Skeeters is the CEO of Thrive: Mind/Body, LLC, an innovative mindset coaching & online counseling practice aimed at empowering motivated individuals to master every area of their life. Are you interested in working with Jay? Contact him today at Jay@skeetersstrength,com.
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