Perhaps that's why I have a hard time imposing rules on my kids. Plus I don't remember many while growing up, and we all turned out fine. Actually, the rules before the age of 12 were no sugar or white flour and no TV, and after 12 as long as we got good grades we could do whatever we wanted. I think back on these as I feed my kids ice cream for breakfast while we're in the middle of a 4 hour long TV marathon. My excuse is my kid just had his tonsils out yesterday . What was always implied, though, was basic respect for other people, which is what I want them to learn. In our house that translates to wrestle with your brother if you both are having fun, but treat him how he wants to be treated.
I want my kids to be able to follow rules, but to also understand when not to, either to do the right thing, or just have a little fun. I do worry that is simply my excuse for my inability to set and enforce rules, plus at the age of 4 that is a bit too subtle, so we have basically one hard and fast rule in our house - no hitting! And even that is hard for me to enforce. Donovan likes to hit when he gets excited - ala a fist pound replaces the high five. The worst is the aptly named "penis punch" which is so wrong on so many levels. He hits to protect his mommy from the hateful words from Keegan, when he's losing at a game or someone is just not playing how he wants to play. When he's tired or upset his default is hitting, and there is very little tougher for me than disciplining a tired and cranky child - it just seems to escalate the behaviour. I thought sitting with him in timeout would help to calm him down, which it did, but it made him scream for me the next few times he was in timeout.
So my latest solution, Daddy's in charge of enforcing the rules
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