Six Things to do When Bending Rules in Parenting

There's a great story circulating on the Web right now where a Porsche 911 owner in San Francisco wasn't interested in abiding by a set of traffic construction rules and as a result, he drove is beautiful sports car straight into wet concrete.  I watched a similar incident many years ago while stopped at an intersection.  A guy driving a souped up truck, with huge mudder tires and way up off the ground grew impatient and drove up on the sidewalk to pass the line of traffic.  As he neared the intersection and was about to turn onto the main cross street, he drove over the stub of what was once a sign post and blew out his tire.  The embarrassment for these two drivers alone was the natural consequence of not following rules.

There is a varying level of risk one must accept when bending rules in society.  Rules are intended to keep everything fair and everyone safe, and for efficiency.  They are put in place for a reason.  So where am I going with this?  Reading this article this morning reminded me that the same goes for parenting; good parents put rules in place and reinforce them.  But some situations will arise in parenting when it might be a good thing to bend a rule for the benefit of a situation or even your relationship with your child.  Where many parents fail is in re-implementing the rules after the temporary bend.

If you're going to bend a rule now and then with your child, do the following six things:

  • Announce the rule break as an official temporary change
  • If necessary, document the rule AND the breakage
  • Tell your child when it will go back into effect
  • Be calm when your child tries to get you to break it again
  • Let your child know that asking for rule breaks is OK
  • If your child screams or throws a fit, calmly walk away
The way you react to your child's requests for rule breaks is key to building a strong parent/child relationship.  She will love occasional rule breaks and will grow to respect you even more by the way you handle her requests or her fits.

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