Friday, October 5, 2018

Calm the Chaos in Your Home!

Created by Carolyn Pachas-Guest Writer

Are you ready to learn another great idea for calming the chaos in your home?  
Janet Bonnin here, Your Family Growth Coach and I feel your pain. My husband John and I were blessed with three kids who were born in four years! You got it - the oldest was four years old when the baby came and then we had one in between. We had no extended family nearest when we were raising our kids. I didn't feel comfortable asking others to watch all three kids at the same time. So we had lots of energy, noise and a tendency towards chaos during the entire time they were growing up. Let's talk about another great way to get control of the chaos without totally blowing up the family.

It's time to call a family meeting and update your Family Rules!
I know you might be thinking, "We've already got family rules. We've got this covered!" Let's take a look at why it's wise to periodically review and update the family rules, and how the best rules can help calm the chaos in your home. You're going to learn some new things, so stick to this reading.

A few years back, I took some training from a group called Family Wellness Associates who have a great program for helping parents improve their skills. They also train trainers like me. They say, "Rules point the direction for the family by putting the values of the family into action. Rules help people know what to expect."

Family Rules are specific and discrete rules for behavior that have natural or logical consequences if not followed. Let's not make up too many rules, but we need rules and if somebody breaks a rule, we have a natural or logical consequence for breaking it. Using a few well-thought out and carefully phrased rules gives the whole family a framework that lessens arguments and power struggles, right? They know what to expect. They know what the consequence is going to be if they break the rule and it helps children learn right from wrong. Rules may vary from family to family, depending on which principles and values each family sets as their highest priority. Let's take a look at four areas that I think are important to have some rules in and look at a couple of examples in each. 

Four Important Areas for Family Rules 

1. Safety - both Online and In-Person

An example of an Online safety rule might be that all the screens that allow access to the internet are in a main area of the home while the kids are young. Also there are restrictions put on where the kids can go when they're surfing the Internet.  In-Person examples for personal safety are "Always walk with a friend", "Be home before dark", and "Friends can come over as long as mom or dad is home."  

2. Respect Our family and Our Things

Respect goes a long way to keeping arguments at a minimum.  Examples might be "Speak with kind words and a calm voice," and "Knock before opening a closed door."  Respect for privacy is especially important for 'tweens and teens as they get older. Another is "Ask before borrowing someone's things." So many arguments happen when somebody takes something without permission! And finally, a really important rule for all of us is "Always tell the truth."

3. Teamwork

A great example of a Teamwork rule is, "Everyone does his or her chores on time." Another one might be "Help with other things when asked nicely."

4. Learning 

A rule for school and education might be to "Do your best in school and in all things." Now I know that's kind of general, but then that leaves it to the student to decide - am I doing my best in all things? Here's a rule. "Keep up with studies and homework." Also, "Ask for help if needed."  In the area of electronics, a rule might be "No screen time during homework," and "The curfew for all screens is (designate the time)." Make sure that they all agree with this.

Reasons for a Family Meeting

Get your kids involved with a Family Meeting. They know there's got to be some rules, and if you invite them again to be part of the discussion, they will be more willing to obey the rules that everybody agrees to. Note that this can and will change as your kids mature.  

Once you figure out the rules, write them down, and place them visible somewhere they can be seen.  Everyone will respect them because you've had the family meeting, you've agreed on them, and here they are, posted. 

Consistency is the key  
Consistency is another key in keeping battles down. If your kids know there's going to be a consequence each and every time, they're going to be more likely to obey. 

Janet Bonnin, Your Family Growth Coach, has worked with families since 2001 to deepen connections and improve communication, so all can lower stress and thrive.  Visit to learn how how.

This blog was written by Carolyn Pachas-Guest Writer for Janet Bonnin-Family Growth Coach

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