As a mom, I spend a great deal of time asking my children to follow rules. I ask my kids to follow my rules (don’t stand on the couch, pick up your toys, don’t use mean words), as well as the general rules of civilization (don’t shout, don’t talk with your mouth full, no hitting, no biting, no pushing, etc.).
I teach my kids that following rules is important and that there are consequences to breaking rules. If one of my daughters is giving me a hard time about doing something, I can usually get them to do (or not do) something by simply stating, “but that’s the rule.” For example, when my 4 year old begs and pleads to wear flip flops or sandals to school, the drama subsides rather quickly when I explain that the school rule is “no open-toed shoes.” This obviously doesn’t work as well with my 2 year old but we are well on our way to having another little girl who understands the importance of following rules.
On the other hand, I do feel that everything is situational and some rules are okay to break under certain circumstances and I do (on occasion) break rules. For instance, I am guilty of running a red light here and there and when I am extremely late or have to pee really bad, I think the rule-breaking is justified. As far as safety goes, you better believe that those rules (such as buckling your seatbelt or wearing your bike helmet) are mandatory, but rules that don’t involve a safety issue should be flexible.
So there you have it, I believe that it is okay to bend the rules and even break them sometimes (like when I have all three kids and need to run into Target quickly to pick up diapers) but SHHH, don’t tell my little ones just yet as I am sure they will figure it out soon enough. My oldest daughter has already started justifying her borderline behavior and advocating for why some of our house rules should be changed.
Are there any other rule-breaking moms out there? Is anyone else teaching your kids that following rules is important but breaking the rules yourself as you see fit? Or do you feel that rules are rules and should always be followed?