I wrote some rules for our family for the school year.
They were not as detailed or numerous as Allison’s rules.
Now that we are a couple of weeks into the school year, I’m thinking that maybe they should have been, and I am drafting a new set.
My girls are 12, 13, and 16. Old enough that you would assume that they understand what we expect of them. Old enough that you might think they would not whine about rules.
Sarah is in her room whining about the phone rules AS I TYPE.
I will not be distracted by this annoyance. I am going to share my rules so you will not make the same mistakes. Or maybe you can help me with my second draft.
Rules that are not working out as planned:
Rule 1: Dinner will be served at 6:30 every night at the table.
We are finding that this rule only works on Thursday and Sunday nights. (If there is not a cross country meet.) Every other night, we are missing someone who is at an after school activity. Most nights I make something and then am disappointed by no one eating it.
Rule 2: Phones can be used after the kitchen is clean until the following times (10:00-16 year old, 9:30-13 year old, 9:00- 12 year old) as long as your homework is complete.
Some nights, the kitchen isn’t clean until 10:00. Most nights, we don’t eat at the table so there isn’t anyone there to clean up.(See Rule 1.)
Rule 3: Phones will be charged at night in the kitchen, not in your rooms.
This one has been pretty well followed and enforced. But now there are phone cords all over the kitchen. And they still have their school computers in their rooms and they can watch Netflix or YouTube on them…
Rule 4: You will make your bed every day before going to school.
Everyone made their bed on the first day of school. By the second week of school, I just shut their doors after they left so I didn’t have to see the mess. Mornings are hard enough without nagging about bed making.
Rule 5: You need to set your own alarm an get up by yourself.
Since there are no phones in bedrooms, I bought 3 very cheap alarm clocks. (I did not consider the annoyance of 3 more people hitting the snooze button every morning.) Plus, now I get to say “did you set your alarm?” to each kid before bed. We are all really enjoying that.
The consequences of not following this rule may be worse for me than they are for them. It is unpleasant, to say the least, to start the day with a teenage girl who didn’t get up in time to properly fix her hair.
I wrote 12 more rules. Some have been easier for us to enforce, like our Sunday night rule- no one goes out or comes over on Sundays after 5:00, or our curfews, or the church rule- (church attendance is mandatory). Some require so much effort on my part that I am ignoring them- rules about cleaning their rooms, for example. The arguing and micromanaging that it takes for them to get their rooms as clean as I would like them is too much.
I also failed to write any rules about the car and driving. What distance is allowable for a 16 year old to drive? Who should be in the car? UGH.