1 ) Parents will take all precautions necessary to avoid yelling (deep breathing, counting to ten, etc.) If yelling occurs, responsibility is taken for losing temper, and apologies are made – always prior to bedtime. No one goes to bed an Angry Bird, ever. That’s the rules.
2 ) It is always okay to make mistakes. Parents and children are well aware of this rule, as mistakes are often made by both the Parental Units and the Kidlet Units. Talking it out, hugging it out, and snuggling it out are usually the best remedies for said mistakes.
3 ) Absolutely no tattling on your sibling unless someone is bleeding or on fire. Make an effort to work things out on your own.
4 ) No hitting in this family, ever, for any reason. This rule is extended to the furball in the family as well. Hitting is never a good way to deal with anger. Except when Mommy is dealing with the stove, which is clearly possessed by the devil.
5 ) Apologies are to be made while looking each other in the eye and will include all of the following: “I’m sorry for what I did/said;” an “Are you okay” (if applicable); an “I love you” and “I love you too;” and a giant hug. Laughter is optional, but one should expect it to happen.
6 ) If one feels the need to be alone, whether it’s because they are feeling sad, or need downtime, or for any other reason, they always can retreat to their room and close the door. All closed doors are to be respected, and only opened after knocking; especially Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom door, dammit.
7 ) Screen time is defined as time spent watching TV, playing video games, or surfing the internet. Screen time is earned and can be taken away for many reasons. Doing chores, homework and keeping your room clean can usually result in relatively unlimited screen time. Whining will result in instant loss of Screen Time, every time, without fail. If you can wipe your own butt, you are too old to speak Whinese.
8 ) All efforts will be made to have kid staples in the house: pencils, peanut butter, milk, bread, cereal and cookies. In the event a staple has run out: DO NOT PANIC. An adult will replenish stock as soon as he or she can.
9 ) All efforts will be made to have adult staples in the house: coffee. In the event a staple has run out – oh wait, we never let that happen ever. EVER.
10 ) Road trips are to be prepared for. Peeing prior to boarding the vehicle is mandatory by all parties. All electronics will be charged the night before and packed in a designated ‘fun bag.’ Said fun bag is not to be confused by traditional ‘fun bags.’ TOTALLY DIFFERENT ANIMAL.
11 ) Swearing is permitted within the confines of our house. Curse words are just words, and while they are rarely used, no punishment will be made for using said words. Children are not to use these words outside of the home, especially with their friends, teachers, or coaches. While that seems like a double standard, not everyone parents this way and would probably not understand, as we have discussed.*
12 ) Everything is subject to discussion. Hot topics like sex, STD’s, pregnancy, peer pressure, drugs, drunk driving and alcohol are openly discussed, using real terminology (and in the case of drugs, images on Google) for the appropriate subject. Children are encouraged to ask any questions, no matter how silly or uncomfortable, and will be met with honest answers and open, two-way dialogue. Children are encouraged to know all the facts about any topic, to approach parents at any time if they find themselves in a situation, and also to make their own decisions in future.
13 ) When out of sight, whether walking home from school or playing outside, children are to stand up for each other, no matter the circumstances. If approached by an adult, remember that an adult never asks a child for help if he/she truly needs help (ie. Dude with “lost puppy.”) An adult who was in real trouble, would ask another adult for help, not a child. Don’t be afraid to yell NO and walk or run away. If grabbed, don’t be afraid to kick, punch, yell, and make a ton of noise.
14 ) No one is perfect. No one is better or worse than us. Treat yourself, each other and others equally, and with respect. Love yourself and love each other. And know you are always, always loved by us, your parents.
*It should be noted that my oldest has only sworn twice in our presence and the 6 year old has never sworn. Even so, we believe those words are *just* words, and don’t forbid cursing.