Thursday, April 11, 2013

House Rules

With piles of work and deadlines some of us stay up all night, cram for hours on end, and eat whatever. That was me before kiddos. Childrearing was my gateway to routines, schedules, and menus. Kiddos thrive on routines, schedules, and familiar foods. This  lifestyle turnabout from whatever works to structure and contemplation has, at times, frustrated me. Sometimes I mix up my frustration with my role as a mother and the indicators that change is needed.

Aware, yet again, that I have room to improve, I enrolled in a parenting workshop offered by grad students at the local university with hopes to glean insights into helpful approaches to childrearing. Ok, really I wanted help with positive reinforcement techniques, but you get what you get somedays.

The first homework assignment was to create a list of house rules which got me thinking: What house rules have been ingrained or are no longer said aloud? What house rules would I like to add? I wanted the house rules to be positive statements that apply to everyone and to serve as mini mantras that encourage us each to be kinder, gentler, and compassionate enough to help each other.

House Rules (a work in progress, in no particular order)
  1. Everyone counts, everyone wants to be heard
  2. Take turns
  3. Speak kindly "my least favorite..." "the best thing ever..."
  4. Words matter and sometimes we need help saying what we mean, but please try, try again-- it's not really that "I hate school" but "I'm so overwhelmed..." 
  5. Give generously, really, you can give more. Holding back? Saving it for yourself? Really, what are you doing with it?
  6. Touch gently, hold softly, everyone needs a hug sometime
  7. Clean as you go, don't start the next project until the first one is cleaned up 
  8. Everything has a place so put it where it belongs and if it doesn't have a place, get rid of something
  9. Pace yourself-- one thing at a time (see #7)
  10. Try before you ask for help
  11. Hold your tongue-- don't tattle just to tattle
  12. Eat at the table, together
  13. Say your sorry if you hurt someone & look them in the eye while you do it
  14. Routines are good-- have a loose plan
  15. Find the positive or avoid commenting (see #11)
  16. Ask open ended questions (don't assume); let the story unfold (applies mainly to Mama)
  17. Manners are always appreciated; use them
  18. Silliness, laughs, and movie lines add levity
  19. Let go, we hold onto too much that weighs us down, really, let go

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