Why are rules for children important?

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A while back I read some articles that really put down people who have rules and consequences for their household, saying that if your children need rules you haven’t raised them right, and that too many rules means that your kids will grow up incompetent.

As I read through these articles I was just in awe and trying to figure out what, exactly these people were getting at. I think that these people just had strong opinions on the matter, and maybe a strict upbringing related to rules? I don’t know, but I was shocked that people would feel so strongly about NOT having any set of boundaries for their children.

I mean, your opinion is just that, your opinion, but here is mine.


I feel like rules are an important part of childhood.

There are many reasons rules should be placed:

  •   Safety
    • No touching the knifes
    • Stay out of the road
    • No running down the stairs
  • Teaching Empathy and Sympathy
    • Clean up after yourself so others don’t have to
    • No hitting, would you like to be hit?
  • Teaching Manners
    • Chew with your mouth closed
    • Say please and thank you
  • Healthy Habits
    • You must drink water before juice
    • Your snack choice must be healthy, like an apple or banana
    • Wash your hands after using the restroom
  • Teaching Responsibility
    • No games until chores are done
    • Watch your sister while you are outside
  • Teaching Respect
    • Arguing, whining, and attitude will not be tolerated
    • No destroying of other peoples’ things, such as coloring on their papers


When kids don’t have guidelines and boundaries they don’t learn necessary life skills.


That being said, when rules aren’t followed there should be consequences.

I’m not gonna lie, I’ve struggled with this. Not only the remembering aspect, you can read about how I fixed this issue here, but also the actual consequence itself. We’ve had some serious ups and downs as far as consequences go, but one thing we’ve learned is that the consequence should be related to the rule that has been broken. Some things don’t apply. I will explain below.


Things that should have coinciding consequences:

Taking others things | Something should be taken

Not clean up after self | Extra chores

Running where not allowed | Required to walk the area a few times

Going in the road | not allowed to play outside for the rest of the day

Not helping to keep an eye on siblings outside| not allowed to play outside for the rest of day

Getting on games before chores are done | Games taken

Drinking juice before water | only water for a few days


Things that shouldn’t have a coinciding consequence:

Aggressive behavior such as hitting, kicking, pinching, and destroying of other peoples’ things.

The consequences for these actions can be time out, a particular item being taken away, getting “grounded”, writing apology letters, etc.


I also implemented a thing I call reflections. My older kids really showed positive improvement when I implemented this a few years ago. You can read about reflections here.

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 In our home, we do have a lot of rules, but they are all relevant to our household. You may only have 4 or 5 rules that you feel are important, everyone is different. When you do have a lot of rules though, like we do, I found the best way to keep track of them is to categorize them.

We have these categories:

  • General Rules:
    • This includes things like: Rules about aggression, being respectful, being responsible, screen time, and just general HOME type rules.
  • Out and About Rules:
    • These are rules for when we leave the house like: Expected behavior in the vehicle and stores.
  • School Rules:
    • Behavior during school: such as being respectful of other people trying to work, asking for help, putting things away when done with it.
  • Eating Rules:
    • Expected table behavior, where eating is allowed, and cleaning up after self.


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