Thursday, April 20, 2006

Our House Rules

We have four bottom-line house rules. These are the rules which must be shown basic respect in order to live in our house.

1. Everyone knows where everyone is.
2. Everyone treats everyone, including themselves, with respect.
3. Everyone contributes.
4. Everyone does their job.

We all, sometimes, break these rules. I may leave without leaving a note (#1), get angry and says something I shouldn't (#2), etc. However, people who do not accept that these are the rules are not allowed to live with us.

Evan saw these rules before he met us. Before I meet potential placements I get to read a file on them, so I feel it is only fair for them to read a "file" on us. So I have a little description of us, rules, and stuff. When we were visiting Evan at rehab he was telling me everything that he planned on doing. I did not want him to think that carrying through with ALL of those plans was required. I finally asked him to tell me what the four rules were. With prompting he remembered. I then told him that his job was to work with his social worker and local rehab counselor. He visibly relaxed and said, "I can do that."

We actually have other rules of course. We limit how much "electronic" time they can have, for instance. But almost everything that we require of them stems from one of those four principles.

It helps that they are expressed as rules that apply to everyone. Some of my kids are pretty "parentified." I end up saying to them, "It's my job to parent you. It not your job to parent me."

I have learned over the years that it is necessary to tell the new kids that some things are permissible. I always tell them, for instance, "If you are hungry, you are allowed to get something to eat without asking."

1 comment:

  1. Reasonable rules.

    My food rule (now that girls are older and hungry constantly) is "if you use the last of something, please don't keep it your little secret". Tell me - I won't be upset unless I look for something that was there only yesterday.


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