Mom’s Rules

Once again, less than stellar parenting advice from Facebook.  I don’t post rules in my house, but if I did, mine would look more like this:

If I cook it….. it’s probably something we all like and enjoy.  Regardless, you are welcome to eat all, some, or none of it, according to your own appetite  and personal taste.

If I buy it… and I give it to you, it’s a gift.  It’s yours, with no strings and no conditions.

If I wash it… it’s done out of a sense of love and cooperation. I wouldn’t expect you to put it away for any other reason.

If I clean it… it’s because I wanted it clean.  If I ask for your help in keeping it that way, it’s a request, not a demand.

If I say bed time… it means I’m going to bed.  Because you’re free to follow your own internal clock, you’ll say good night when you go to bed… whether it’s in your own bed, or nestled between mom and dad.

If I say get off the phone…  I’m being pretty rude.   If I need to ASK you to get off the phone, I will have a good reason, and I will do so politely.

If I say no…  it’s most likely an issue of safety or unavoidable logistics.  You are always welcome to ask why, and you always deserve the courtesy of a response (one that does not include the phrase, “because I said so”)

‘Cause we’re a family.

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74 Responses to Mom’s Rules

  1. As usual, Jen, right on the nose!

  2. It is tragic that authoritarian parenting is so accepted and glibly parodied in our society today. Thanks for sharing this and giving the world perspective!

    • Chelsea

      Seriously! It’s been scientifically proven that authoritarian parenting is harmful since the 1960s! Anyone who has taken a psych 101 class should know this…

  3. Lesli Peterson

    LOVE Love LOVE

  4. Kynosmom

    I try so hard to parent this way but dh says the kids’ own me.  He just doesn’t get it 🙁

    • Kynosmom

      I meant your way of parenting…

      • Hope you continue to follow your heart.  Comments like that always sting me a little, too.  But when I think about it, of course I belong to my little girl.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

        • pathlesstaken

          Lovely point, Amy!  I think it’s sad that respectful parenting is so unfamiliar to so many people that they automatically mistaken it to mean that it is unbalanced, too child-centered, etc… when it simply isn’t the case.

  5. Respect First!

    Nope.  This way of thinking will be the DOWNFALL of America. Where parents need to be respectful and loving, children also need to have rules and be respectful and obedient.  We have 2-3 generations of ‘children first’ mentality and America is going down the tubes.  If I cook it, be grateful we have food to eat.  If I buy it then know I thought you needed it or thought i heard you say you wanted it but I did not spend money so you can trade it at school for drugs or wad it up in the back of the closet.  Comunicate it you don’t think you can wear it but understand that you might change your mind. If i wash it or clean it please be respectful and take care of it and no matter what your psychologist says, you need to learn to care for yourself and help around the house.  You are not a “slave” but neither am I! If I say bed time then you need to go to bed. I can’t rest if you are up watching TV and you need more sleep than I do according to the experts so at least you can get in bed and read or listen quietly to some music. If I say you need to get off the phone, then you can easily say “I gotta go” which is what you say when your boyfriend is on the other line. I don’t boss you about–we need to eat dinner and you are being rude yacking your head off. If I say “no” it might be that I am overprotective but most of the time you are getting into something without all the big picture taken into account. I would love to discuss it with you but if you choose to be rude then the discussion is over.

    • Marcia Cross

      So sorry to disagree, but I raised my children just this way.   Not only was there no corporal punishment, there wasn’t even any punishment that we could recall, one night when we were discussing it with our children, who are now in their 30’s.  My children were very respectful and obedient, even asking permission for things I was surprised they would ask me about.  As teenagers they would ask their father and I to go to movies, out to eat, etc. with them, many times with their friends.  They still do.  We live with our daughter now, and her two boys.  They are 3 and 6 so explanations are more pointed and brief, and the older one is autistic, but we have so many fewer aggravations than most with kids that age.  You can train a cat to stay off the kitchen counter…when you are looking.  I don’t wish my children, and now grandchildren, to be trained in such a manner.  I prefer nurturing them to be able to build character full of good values and endeavors.

    • Mama of four

      As all people are different so are children and the approaches needed. Sorry to say that not all kids respond to reason and sometimes will need a slightly more authoritarian approach from the parent or caregiver. The commenter above was not suggesting anything unfair or abusive. What I got from the comment above (Respect First!) was as that “if you as a child think you will disrespect me as your parent and think you will run the house, then you are sorely mistaken!” Nothing at all unreasonable about that! I am fair with my kids and listen to them and consider their wants and needs, but when they incessantly harp on something they “want” that I don’t agree with and question over and over “but why?” and try to justify why I should change my mind, then yeah it is necessary to tell them simply “because I’m the Mom/Dad/etc, and I said no so drop it!” Our oldest of three (soon to be four) also has Autism and would not do as well without clear and predictable expectations, house rules, and firm boundaries. I find (and see with other people’s kids) when everything is negotiable and too flexible the kids then feel a sense of too much power, there is imbalance in the family unit and the kids end up disregarding and disrespecting the parents and doing whatever they want. Kids have enough “friends” and only one Mom and Dad, it’s time we stopped trying so hard to be our kids friends and stepped up to fill the parental role and guide our children as well as nurture them!

      • Respectfully I need to let you know that there is a common misconception that children who are not stripped of respect by their parents lack it toward others.  

        It is just not the reality.  

        In fact, the very many children I know who are parented the way the author describes above are not only respectful, but they are thoughtful, kind, polite and compassionate.  And it does not matter if they are speaking with a two year old or an eighty-two year old.

        • Mama of four

          You also missed my point of different approaches for different kids/situations. Nowhere did I say my children have been stripped of respect, quite the opposite as they are respected and loved and listened to. I do however draw the line at giving them more descision making power than they should have at their age and letting them make their own rules. Please see my reply above yours responding to pathlesstaken for further clarification….

          • Guest

            I don’t think your point is being missed; I just don’t think the majority of the people commenting agree.

          • Again, respectfully, I need to share that having a privilege taken away by another is not a natural consequence.

            I too read all of your comments, and “heard” what you were saying.  I think guest below is accurate.

            And now I fear that you will think we are indeed trying to win some sort of point.  And I genuinely want to assure you that I strongly suspect there is not a person on here who sees any of this conversation as winning.

            I can only speak for myself, but I am so grateful to be learning so very much about what I can do to brighten the lives of my children, and I tend to assume that others want the information too.  

          • Cmckay

            Momma of four, I think you should go get you kids away from the tv and play with them, give them a hug, sing to them, then maybe appreciate that you are so lucky to have four kids and stop trying to win a argument on a post that doesn’t agree with your type of parenting! Clearly the lady that wrote the revised “rules” thinks the “rule” in the picture are crazy, as do I, however kids that have Parents such as us are kind, caring, loving, happy kids, not that your arnt but u need to be respectful of our style to, there must be a thousand message boards u could go write on about us “passave” parents. Or maybe go hang out with your kids so they know mommy loves them!

      • pathlesstaken

        Which part of my post led you to believe that I don’t guide my children?

        • Mama of four

          That’s all you took from my response? Hmmm. Nothing to say about there being different approaches for different children/situations? My point about guidance is that I have seen things swing WAY too far the way of children running the show. While this may not be the case with your particular children I see his sort of thing happening around me often, and then the parent is so confused as to why they can never get their child(ren) to listen to or cooperate with them. My kids have my understanding, respect, fairness and love as well but I can tell you (for example) when I say it is time to leave the playground after their five minute warning they know we are leaving and come right away, as opposed to MANY of the other kids there that have their parents basically pleading with them for the next 20 or 30 minutes to “please come now, we have to go”. That kind of behavior and disregard is not acceptable to me. Like I said I also have lots of respect and value for my children’s input in things that affect them and other issues, but some things are not negotiable. I have been told on numerous occasions what lovely children we have and what a GREAT job I am doing raising them by strangers and professionals alike, so our “no nonsense” way is obviously working well for US (remember my comment different approaches for different kids/situations?). Hopefully that clears things up.

          • D.

            You only give them a 5 minute warning? Sheesh… How would you handle a five minute warning? Children being scared of what will happen if they do not comply is not the same as respect.

          • Mama of four

            A five minute warning is perfectly acceptable in many situations, and is somewhat flexible depending on the age and needs level of the child. If the situation and child requires a start of a longer transition time working down to five minutes they get that. Do I really need to break down all possibilities and options and every situation to make my point? Did you as well miss my point about every child and situation being unique? Are you one of those judgmental types that get off on feeling high and mighty because “your” way MUST be the correct and only way for everybody? Also….if my kids get “scared” of losing the privilege of watching a bit of TV or playing a video game if they don’t do what’s expected then so be it! If they expect extras and privileges then they have to display the kind of behavior and cooperation that gets them those extras. PS, my 8 year old just got home from school and greeted me with a big hug and is asking if he can help me unload the dishwasher….because he LIKES to help out. Does that sound like a disrespectful or fearful child?

          • pathlesstaken

            I read your whole comment, and I heard what you said.  My (admittedly brief) reply was mostly in response to the pervasive assumpti0n – not just by you, but by many, many people – that gentle/respectful parenting somehow equates to providing NO parenting and no guidance, which simply isn’t the case.  What you’ve described is much more likely to be related to *permissive* parenting, which is a very, very different thing.

          • Mama of four

            Well I guess I fall somewhere in the middle between those two styles of parenting then. At our house we are very involved and interested in our kids as well as gentle and respectful, but find a definite need at times to be more directive and a bit authoritarian. Not all authoritarian approaches implemented are abusive or wrong as some commenters here would have one believe. Our children learn through natural consequences (losing privileges etc) rather than fear. I never said we use a strictly authoritarian approach only, which would be as inappropriate and useless as the permissive parenting you mention above. Sorry I guess I am just so tired of seeing the results of overly permissive parenting, which seems like an inappropriate knee jerk reaction away from the authoritarian style of the past, rather than people meeting in the middle somewhere and finding a balance between the two. I just wanted to make it known that some kids require a bit more direction and authority at times, and it is not abusive or disrespectful. Thank you for a decent and respectful discussion on this matter 🙂

        • Marcia Cross

          A child who is  treated as well as an honored guest in our home is easier to parent than children who has been trained to follow orders.  Trust and understanding  are better motivators than consequence- led discipline.  Discipline can be 99% guidance when there is no perceived (child’s perception) need to rebel against perceived (child’s perception)  unnecessary and unfair infringements on their autonomy.    Shepherds used their rods to guide their sheep not to hit them, literally and figuratively.  

    • pathlesstaken

      My kids are very respectful towards me.  Not because they’ve been forced (which is a false “respect” anyway) but because I treat THEM with respect. 

    • Mysterycity23

      Yes, it is this way of thinking that will be the downfall of  America.  Sure.  

    • mary

       your way of parenting has gone on entirely too long already as is obvious by the current state of America

    • Respect of all, not one.

      I think the downfall began when both parents decided to work so they could keep up with the Jones’ (and other reasons), not because parents chose to respect their children and treat them as human beings. 

  6. oh mu gosh Jen~ was thinking the same thing! sheeesh! Poor children who are in the home of *cause i’m the mom* :o(

  7. Mamaojoy

    I agree in so many ways…the only thing that is different in our family is that our littles have a set (flexible 30 min either way) bedtime. But they are snuggled and stayed with until sleep descends. I am sure this will relax as they grow…but for now Daddy and Mommy *need* that time to decompress at the end of our day. Maybe it is the “J” in my INFJ but we are pretty routine rhythm grounded family…we all like to know what is happening when. I am curious how this will relax as our kids grow ( newly 4, 2.5 and 2 months).

    • pathlesstaken

      Yes, things like sleep routines and rhythms definitely naturally shift and change as the kids get older. 🙂

  8. Thank you for writing this.  It is so easy to lose sight of being respectful to our children when we are bombarded with information encouraging us to be rude and mean.

    This is a HUGE learning process for me, but there is no other approach that feels right, or makes my family happier and more connected.

    • pathlesstaken

      Yes, it’s always a process. 🙂  And whenever I feel like I’ve gotten off-course, taking a step back, being more mindful, more respectful, more patient.. always sets things right again. 🙂

      • Izzysmom

        It certainly IS a learning process! I’m always encouraged to find other parents who embrace the same learning path that I am on. On the topic of respect, I find for me, it helps me to take a deep breath, a step back and ask myself how would I respond if the person in this situation/interaction/conversation with me right now (my 3yo daughter), how would i respond/react/speak to her if she were an adult friend/family member/acquaintance…? I find reminding myself of this perspective helps me to continue to communicate with her in a respectful way …

        • Izzysmom- thanks for sharing that.  It helps me too, to hear that others are doing similar things.  And that thought changes everything for me.  

          Maybe I already said this, but the most amazing part of this for me is how bettering myself for my children is improving my life.  Truly.

        • Joni Zander

          The single best parenting advice I’ve ever received was to ask myself if I would say to my partner or other friend whatever I’m about to say to my child.   This thought process really helped me be truly respectful to my kids.  It is astonishing, when you really think about it, how we boss kids around and then complain that they are not respectful.

          • pathlesstaken

             Oh yes, that is how I always measure my the way I treat my kids as well…. “Is this something I would say/do to another adult/friend/coworker/family member?”  It’s pretty sad that so many people feel – whether they come right out and admit it or not – that kids are somehow less deserving of respect than adults, simply because they are children.

  9. I find myself taking a very similar approach to parenting so far. With a 2 year old and 10 month old I’m still a rookie, but I have found that my sweethearts are very sensitive and respond much better to gentle guidance rather than a harsher approach. 
    Thank you so much for sharing your heart! 

  10. Bluekittydaemon

    Thank you! I know you’ve already heard tons from the “you are ruining America” crowd but, big surprise, they’re wrong. Study after study shows authoritarian parenting does not produce terrific citizens – in fact it does the opposite. Authoritative parenting still allows for boundaries but it also encourages compassion, thoughtfulness and a much better capacity for critical thinking and self inforced ethical decisions – ie better citizens.

  11. Bob Collier

    Good for you. I’ve parented your way for almost 27 years and the outcomes (and the journey) have been most excellent. 

  12. Bob Collier

    Good for you. I’ve parented your way for almost 27 years and the outcomes (and the journey) have been most excellent. 

  13. Marcia Cross

    You are a terrific writer and I am so sorry that your piece about peaceful parenting was taken to mean permissive parenting by so many.  It is SO far from the same.  Permissive parenting IS letting the child run things, and is really abuse in the form of neglect.  Children are just that, children.  They need guidance, parenting, nurturing.  I didn’t get from your piece that you were at all encouraging permissive parenting.  Parenting isn’t an either-or choice.  All the comments are from loving parents who are doing the best they know for their kids as far as I could tell.  All of them.  We are ALL in agreement that permissive parenting is damaging to the child as well as the rest of the family, and to society as a whole.  It is so difficult to do active listening, really hearing what the person is saying, as these days we are bombarded by politicians and activists taking what one says and contorting it to a ridiculous degree to better give their own agenda credence.  That is not what this piece was about.  Let’s not buy into a political type of listening and reacting, we are training the next generation how to communicate.  I did not read one comment I felt was not from a place of love and caring for family and others other than the “Are you one of those judgmental types that get off on feeling high and mighty because “your” way MUST be the correct and only way for everybody?”–and qualifying that…that was the only part of her comment I found disrespectful or “politically” charged to an extreme.  From all of the preceeding so far I have gotten:  #1  There is a huge difference between permissive parenting (which in no way was being discussed in the piece) and gentle parenting.  #2  Everyone who commented so far loves their kids, wants the best for them and is providing guidance in one way or the other.  The piece was suggesting another way to go about that guidance and nurturing, not the lack there-of.  #3  It heartens me to hear so many wonderful parents trying to hard to raise their kids to be people of good character.

  14. Jenniferlnardi

    I don’t know…I believe in respecting my children and parenting with love and guidance, but sometimes I’m the mom and it’s my decision to make and that’s the way it is. I personally believe that if I spent the time to clean/do laundry/cook dinner that children should be taught to understand that and appreciate it – which isn’t something they would just do naturally. Children behave like children – there’s nothing wrong with that – they have to learn what is acceptable and expected.
    I am in no way suggesting the original post implies you don’t give instructions and guidance – I’m quite sure you do.

    • pathlesstaken

      Thanks for the comment.  I disagree that children need to be taught to be appreciative, and that it’s not something they’d come by naturally.  I believe that children will learn what they are SHOWN, and learn what is modeled by their parents… no teaching necessary. 🙂  And my kids have shown me, again and again, the truth of that.

  15. E C Mama

    I don’t really understand how everyone can miss a point like this, in no way was this described as permissive.
    All I could see is that the “rules” involved everyone using good manners. It’s only polite, I can politely ask my children to do something or to not do something- or I can order it. One is simply nicer than the other and I don’t see anything wrong with an authoritarian approach if the polite way has been used first and the child is in imminent danger or will be damaging property.
    Children without boundaries are searching for them. But this is not the case. It’s just a mother being considerate of her kids feelings. If I was to deal with an adult in a bossy manner they would baulk.. why wouldn’t kids also? I know I did. I was naughtier the more someone tried to control me. Passively rebellious other times. But it wasn’t ALL me. It was a break down of communication

  16. Kristin

    When I started reading this I was surprised, thinking, “Um, I don’t agree with those rules at all…” and then I saw your revised rules which are very much what we do at our house with our three kids.

     I think the number one rule in our house, though largely unspoken, is, “NO arbitrary rules.”  If I say, “please don’t take food to your room,” feel free to ask me why and I will tell you the very real problem that we have in this house of ants.  We’ve had several serious invasions and that’s why there is no food taken to the kids rooms.  There is a reason for every, of the very few we have, rule. 

    At night when Daddy goes to bed, everyone needs to play much more quiet, preferably in their own room with the door closed.  Daddy going to work makes all of our lives possible so making it possible for him to sleep is very important.  I’m not saying you have to go to sleep but you do have to make it possible for HIM to sleep.  I stay up later than my husband to help with late night snacks and stuff. 

    Anyway, all this is to say that I agree with your revised rules and  think that it’s a path that is working really well for our family.   That last statement is something that I think goes largely unheard.  It works for MY FAMILY.  The fact is that I DO think it could work for others but, at the same time, what works for us is not an attack on any other way of doing things.  My children are just that, children.  They are not entering society where anyone else will have to be burdened by the fact that I have treated my children more like friends than creatures that I needed to control.  At the moment, at 11, 9 and 8, they are helping more and more and learning to respect me as I am obviously respecting them.  By the time they are “out in the world”, I feel certain that they will be exactly who they want to be and not the spoiled, entitled brat that people seem to fear will come out of such parenting.

  17. guest

    So as I’m reading this I truly am thinking about all the ways I have acted and parented my children.  I honestly do feel that every child is different and reacts to things differently as other posts have been on here.  I have done it your way for 5 years now and have had nothing but grief to the point of wanting to just blow up from frustration some days.  I have children with disabilities who suffer from pain daily and I have no routine as I am at dr.’s appointments on average 20 times a month.  My kids don’t get the play time that others do just from all the time sitting and waiting in dr’s offices.  I for one of many examples, sit quietly and explain, tell them it’s bed time and they fall apart because they haven’t had play time or didn’t get to watch the movie they wanted but if they do not get to bed, their nervous systems shut down and they will barely be able to walk the next day.  So I set a bed time because I know that if I don’t tell them what time it is  for bed, they won’t have the rest that is needed.  So am I a bad parent because I say it’s bed time and they have a meltdown?  I am respectful, explain gently but they don’t want to hear a single word I have to say that I have to walk away.  I will offer some leeway time in hopes to keep the meltdown but that just isn’t good enough for them.  

    If I even decide to take that chance with the very small window of time I may have to take them to the library for example to play or have story time but then I have to leave to go to another appointment because that is just the life I have to lead with my children (and myself as I have the same condition) and again, I explain that (both when we made the decision to go to the library that we can only go for so long and we will have to leave to go to another appointment) if we go they have to listen to me when I say it’s time to go but they end up having so much fun they don’t want to leave.  Then after sitting and talking about it, they still melt down and I have to pick them up so we aren’t late for another appointment that I will have to pay for because I’m late. It’s situations like this where mom’s like you make me feel like I’m doing a horrible job as a parent because I must be doing something wrong if my children are melting down.  I love my children more than anything and we do our best to spend as much time as possible (despite the horrible amount of appointments and limitations that they have) but they have to understand that boundaries need to be made both for their physical well being (we suffer from a very rare collagen disorder and joints dislocate very easily and skin tears and doesn’t heal) and my physical well being.  I absolutely respect the way you think but yes, there has to be understanding that not all children respond to that way of thinking in all situations…..sometimes the pain is so bad for my children (aged almost 3 and 6) that no matter the amount of respect and gentle conversation is going to calm them down.  Therefore sometimes thinking before judging when out in public is needed. Sometimes all I want is someone to say, can I help you open the door, or can I pick that up for you (as our joints give out all the time and dropping things is quite common), but no, I get stares as though I am a bad parent.

    • guest

      And I meant to say mom’s with your way of thinking….I already feel as though I’m eye balled by every parent out there and it breaks my heart that there seems to be no leeway in this situation, it’s as though if you don’t parent that way, you are a bad parent.  Makes me never want to go anywhere

    • Our Muddy Boots

      It sounds like you have a lot that you are trying to take care of; your children’s special health needs, appointments, and your own health.  Just having children can be overwhelming without having to fit in so many doctors appointments.  That is a lot.  

      I do think that we are talking about different things.  

      It sounds like you may be looking for some resources for how to make transitions more smoothly?  I may be misreading that though.

      I have recently learned myself how very many resources there are out there that can show us how to do these things in respectful and gentle ways.  

      You sound frustrated and unsure about how to make things happen more smoothly- that is a feeling I well know myself and that is how I came to find so many resources.

      One thing I’ll share with you that changed everything for me is learning that being home- often and most of the time- is a great thing for kids.  I always thought we had to be out experiencing things or they would be missing out on something.

    • Joni Zander

      (Hugs) – you have a lot going on and your children are still so very little, so be gentle on yourself.  

      I had a couple of ideas pop into my head as I was reading your response – if I’m way off base, just ignore me!  🙂

      My first thought was, could they watch the movie they want to watch while they wait in the Dr. office so they don’t have to miss that when they have to go to bed?  If you don’t have the technology to manage that, reply and let me know – I think I can hook you up.  The same with missing play time – can they not play in the waiting room?
      It sounds like it is hard for you to squeeze everything in, so maybe not trying to go somewhere before you have to go to an appointment – and then trying to have something they will look forward to for the appointment wait time.  I’m sure that could sound daunting for you since you have your own health issues, but it could make your life a lot easier.As for bed time – do you all go to bed together?  If not, you may want to try that.  This doesn’t necessarily mean a family bed if that isn’t comfortable for you – but calming the entire house down an hour before bed time – dimming the lights and noise, doing some quiet activities together, brushing teeth together, getting ‘jammas on and reading together, then all going to bed.  I would think that would help with the melting process if they aren’t being sent to bed, but rather, having bed going be a family activity.All of my suggestions are a little heavy on the pre-planning on your part, but could make for much happiness.Oh, and another thought I just had is to recognize that some kids just need to melt down every once in a while!  Being compassionate during a melt down will keep your focus on your kids rather than noticing the nasty, undeserving stares of people who won’t understand!  Maybe just sit down on the floor with them, give them a squeeze, and let them melt down for a few minutes rather than trying to fight it (of course, I don’t know if you are!).

      When my niece and nephews were little (they were higher spirited than my daughters), my sister-in-law finally decided to not set any goals for her day.  Then it was a total bonus when the bathroom got cleaned, or anything else “extra” (other than feeding, clothing, and sleeping) happened.  You, of course, have all the Dr. appointments, but if that is all you try to get done in a day in addition to the survival basics then you’ve done your job.  This is where the “be gentle on yourself” bit comes in.

    • pathlesstaken

      First,  I want to say how sorry I am for all that you and your children are going through.  I don’t blame your children, or you, at ALL for feeling frustrated/angry/sad/tired at times with the current hand you’ve been dealt.  It is HARD on a family, for all involved, when life feels like it is getting derailed by things like health concerns and subsequent appointments, etc.

      I think you’ve gotten some good specific advice from a few others here.

      It is never, ever, my intention to make anyone feel they are a bad parent…   I’m far from a perfect parent.  Like you, I’m doing the best I can, and just sharing some thoughts along the way.  Please don’t assume that I would give you stares rather than hold the door or help you out.

      • guest

        Well, I am so thankful that I overall have a calm demeanor that can withstand the crazy meltdowns (I hear this from my family and friends all the time about how calm I am).  I am the oldest of 5 kids and my mom has a hard time seeing it because we all understood the rules (without being authoritarian at all) and we just listened.  

        My kids are just so exhausted all the time from the appointments and being asked to sit quietly and not disturb the other patients in the office.  When we go to the children’s hospital, it is much more geared for kids so they can get some play time in.  Unfortunately sometimes we have so little time that the only time we can experience things is to squeeze it in between appointments unfortunately.  I certainly try not to bring on a situation if I can but at this point in time, it’s hard with their age.  

        I certainly don’t mean to get mad at you at all because that also wasn’t my intention but I’ve on more than one occasion been told by perfect strangers that my children need to stop yelling and why can’t I control them.  My son is quite tall for his age and his vocabulary is very small (big vocabulary overall but I’m the only one that understands him…his muscles don’t coordinate well so learning the language is hard) so people get very upset assuming he’s easily 2 years older than he really is and tell him to his face that he needs to stop yelling….both by young parents and older ones.  He bawled his eyes out one time as someone told him he was disturbing others and he needed to close his mouth.  I just cried for him and couldn’t believe it.  I didn’t want to get upset at the woman as it then would show my children that it was ok to speak to someone that way (which is never ok in my books) but it’s amazing how people make assumptions.  So most days I let it roll off my shoulders and not let it bother me but other days I just want to run and hide because if I get another stare or comment under their breath I’m going to fall apart.  

        I think the other reason is because my children look completely normal (what we have is considered an “invisible condition”) so people just make the assumption that I simply can’t control my kids.  

        We try our best to make a calm house around bed time (which usually doesn’t happen as I always worked in the evenings and it’s the trade in the evening as my husband gets home), read stories, etc.  We try and stay home on many days if that’s even heard of so they can get the play time but again, no schedule of any kind really creates so much chaos.  It’s not fun but we make it work as best as we can and we do try to strive for a respectful relationship  between us all.

  18. Moniquews

    Children learn what they are shown and what is modeled for them.    They are pretty good at discerning the talk that isn’t walked.  They do what they see.

  19. Caring momma

    Your “revised” rules are GREAT!!! All the haters are just upset that they let their frustrations get the best of them and in turn tweek out on there kids with a power trip! I’m on a path of learning with my first son who is 1.5 now and I’m amazed at how sweet, respectful, caring and curious he is! Children need to be loved no matter what they do, and learn right from wrong, and if that means get hurt or find out the hard way then thats how they should learn, not be yelled NO at, because mommy said so! I recently went to the park wih my neighbor and her 4 kids and she just parked her ass on the bench and yelled at her kids across the play ground, how embarrassing for those kids, and gave me a clear example of who I do not wanna be! In no way do your “rules” set the grounds for a rude, disrespectful punk teenager, those are the kids that get bullied by there parents for the start of there life! I love yoour sight and I say keep being awesome!

  20. Guest

    I feel that this is a good way to parent, but I have a question. What if, for example, you ask your child politely to get off the phone and give them a good reason, but they say no? Do you then order them to get off? I think some people automatically think this style of parenting is permissive because they assume you end up begging your kids if they refuse to do as you ask, but I imagine that isn’t true. So what do you do?

    • Marcia Cross

      I always slipped my kids a note, “Dinner is ready, I have to go to the store, etc.”  I was mindful that who they were talking to could hear me saying to hang up the phone.  My children knew when scheduled events were, and unscheduled things, I would write a note for.  Then they could end the conversation just as I would if my husband told me we needed to go do something.

    • pathlesstaken

      Well, my goal with my kids is not for them to be obedient and to immediately do whatever I ask.  For me, it’s more important to have a connected relationship… such that when I ask them to do something / tell them I need them to do something, they DO do it, just as I would do something for my husband or another trusted person in my life.  I honestly can’t imagine why one of my kids would tell me “no” to something like a reasonable request to get off the phone.  To answer the more general question though, I would empathize, and tell them I’m sorry, but that I needed them to do whatever it was.    Yesterday, my four year old didn’t want to leave the park.  We’d stayed much longer than I intended, and we still had to run some errands.   I told her that it was late and we needed to go… she said she still wanted to play…. I said I was sorry and that I knew she’d rather play but we had to leave, so would she rather walk or have a piggy back to the car?  She said she wanted to race me to the car.  So we raced to the car, and all was well. 🙂

  21. Jayne

    HI there, I was wanting to pin this on Pinterest, but it only posts the original image (which is not the part I really wanted) Is there any way of getting the whole thing with your revised section on it also?

    • pathlesstaken

      I don’t think you can get an image of my revised words on it.. but I think you can choose a more generic image off my blog, like my logo?  (Sorry, I don’t actually know a lot about how Pinterest works )

  22. guest

    Interesting take.  I agree that the first set of rules is too harsh.  I am probably a more “middle of the road” person though.  I’m a mother of two – 4 years and 2 years old.  I work from home.  Not that it matters, but here are my revised rules:

    If I cook it … You can choose to eat or not eat it.  However, I will not be cooking anything else.  I am not a short-order cook.

    If I buy it … It is because you either picked it out, or I have interacted with you enough to know what you like. 

    If I wash it … I will teach you how to put it away, as one of your chores (when they get a little older).   I think all children need to have a few small “to dos” around the house.   (Right now, my 4-year old’s only chore is to clean up the toys she played with.)If I clean it…it’s because I want it clean. I sure hope you do too. But you probably don’t, because I tend to be a bit of a neat freak.  If you don’t, you will learn how to clean it up after yourself when you are done.  (Though I don’t expect it to look the way I would do it.  If I want it to look that way…I will do it myself.)If I say bed time…you say good night.  Mommy needs downtime (and often, I need that time to work).   If I ASK you to get off the phone … You say goodbye to the person you are talking to. If you want to ask me why after, you are welcome to do so.  If I say no…Feel free to ask why. But you may not agree with the answer. And I’m okay with that.  Sometimes Mommies have to make decisions based on safety (like not playing in the middle of the street).

    • guest

      I’m sorry about the formatting 🙁  I don’t know why it stopped recognizing my breaks. 

    • pathlesstaken

       I agree with most of your revisions. 🙂 I could have expanded on many of them, I was just trying to be brief.  On the chores, keeping things clean, etc… we do not do assigned chores, but ALL my kids willingly help out with dishes, putting clothes away, picking up, etc;  just because we’re a family and we all work together. 

  23. Rose

    I think I’m middle of the road. Ours is a house full of bouncy, playful, happy, creative people (kid and adult!) which is a GREAT thing – but we are also people who thrive on routine and rules. Without rules, we all (parents included) tend to let everything slide and before you know it, there are no clean dishes and it’s 11pm and we’re outside digging a pool. (Yeah… it happened.)

    So we have family rules, and everyone knows why they have to follow them – for their own health and safety. My rules aren’t strict, more of a routine than rules. Bedtime is strict because I have kids in school and they need to get up early to get on the bus.  Some rule examples – we eat at regular times, we eat certain foods (ADHD friendly), we need to pick up after ourselves even if there’s something more fun to do, and children must stay in the yard, no exceptions.

    Other than our guidelines, our kids are very free range, but everyone – and I mean EVERYONE – always compliments on how well behaved, polite, and genuinely kind they are. Especially considering that there are five of them and only one of me!


  24. Nicademus

    We are a family of 6 living on a single (rather small) income. This was not how life was supposed to be (unforseen circumstances) but we make do. We go to the food bank every week so there is enough food to go ’round. Having said that…

    If I cook it…they best eat it as there is NOTHING else to eat and I will not allow my kids to starve.

    If I buy it….it was for a specific reason and just like the food, there is not enough money to go around.

    If I clean it…hmmm…this one is tough because I fully expect (age appropriate) help in keeping it clean. I am not a slave, I am a mom.

    If I say bedtime…Go to bed. I know how much sleep you need, even if you don’t . It won’t be fair to the teachers tomorrow to have you falling asleep in class just because I let you stay up til you felt like going to bed.

    If I say get off the phone…please do so as it is probably dinner time and we are a family, therefore we sit together to eat and learn about each others day.

    If I say no…I have my reasons. You may ask what they are but I refuse to argue about them.

    I am a mother of 5 (survived 1 teen already) currently working on teenager number 2 with one in the wings and I have a preschooler and a toddler. All 5 kids demand different things at the same time. 2 boys, 3 girls. My point? All of them are different and I adjust my parenting to suit each individual child. What works for one may not work for the rest. The ONLY thing that is the same with all 5 kids…they respond well to rules and structure. Without them, they have no idea what is expected of them.

    • Nicademus

       BTW…my kids are very respectful to not just me but everyone they meet. They are complimented on their manners frequently.

  25. Dusa

    This is brilliant. You’re brilliant. As a brand-spankin’-new mother, I am proud to say I look up to you.