Rules have a negative connotation and not many people take them in the right, positive and constructive spirit. Rules just don’t go down well with youngsters particularly teenagers as the former are usually characterized by dogmas and rigidity. Small wonder children resist and resent them. The very word causes children to defy and protest. Rules are synonymous with dictatorship and authority. Their imposition is immediately perceived as a threat to individual freedom, personal rights and free speech as well as expression. Rules make little sense and simply don’t resonate and strike the right chords with children. They provoke, evoke fear, disdain and rage within!
Rules are associated with autocracy, tyranny and despotism and are certainly contradictory to the principles and values of a democracy. Young children dislike rules, regulations and restrictions. They challenge and try to subvert and dismantle rules at the first opportunity if they find them unreasonable and in direct conflict clashing with their interests or values.
Rules are always accepted with a pinch of salt and not embraced or welcomed wholeheartedly. They are met with skepticism and even contempt and are usually resisted and disregarded. It’s no surprise that our little ones confront rules and react negatively typically showing defiance and non-compliance. Children simply don’t like rules to be imposed or shoved down their throats without being consulted and discussed with them. They see rules as something restricting their freedom and confiscating their privileges and liberties. They see adults’ lack of trust in them and the former’s inability to see value in their children. Rules are an indicator of serious trust issues!
While parents are busy establishing rules and boundaries for their children such as household rules, playtime rules and restrictions applying to their behavior, actions and attitude, parents should also examine if rules are equally applicable to them and should assess their own reactions if rules are imposed on them. How would parents perceive rules if applied to them and will they accept without questioning and examining them? As adults let’s remember rules are meant for us too! Here is the list of rules and guidelines to parents:
Rules that Parents Should Follow:
- Validate your child’s feelings and emotions.
- Never react unreasonably and shout at your children.
- Allow children to make personal choices and decide independently.
- Allow children their right to privacy and free expression.
- Respect their individual rights and private space.
- Spanking and emotionally neglecting them are a strict no-no.
- Don’t embarrass, criticize and shame them publicly.
- Don’t enforce strict discipline, it is often counter-productive.
- Refrain from showing unreasonable emotions.
- Practice mindful and conscious parenting.