I noticed last week when visiting No3, No4, and No6 that they have ‘House Rules’ posted. It’s a simple way to remind the children what is acceptable behavior in their home. I thought to myself, “Well, that’s clever. Why didn’t I think of it when the boys (SonNo1 and SonNo2) were young?” It would have eliminated a lot of ‘nagging’ on my part.
The House Rules are:
- Obey your Parents.
- Be Respectful of others and others’ belongings.
- Be kind with your actions (no hitting or fighting).
- Talk out your problems (don’t yell and scream).
- Use your Manners.
- Clean up after yourself.
- Ask for help if you need it.
- Everyone will be treated fairly.
Let me explain that No4 and No6 (ages 8 and 6) often seem to be butting heads, in each others’ faces, whatever you want to call it…they usually get along fine but do seem to enjoy irritating each other.
On this particular evening they had dragged the garden hose out to their play scape in the backyard, trying everything possible to cool off during the stifling mid-90s weather…water down the slide, a spray coming from the top rafter, squirting each other. Everything went well until one point I heard their voices at a higher decibel that normal. I looked over and observed some very-telling body language going on. Someone forgot the House Rules!
As I watched, the interaction never reached the stomping-of-the-feet stage, no tears were produced, and they eventually worked it out. The rest of the evening was spent playing in the water with No4 trying to squirt him with a spray bottle (good aim but no power). No6 was trying to drag 50’ of hose around the yard to get her, and I was showing No6 how to use his tiny little thumb to block the end of the hose and get more power and distance. No3 just sat to the side and laughed at us all, and she was the only one who didn’t get soaked. It was a good evening.
Back to the House Rules, though…when Mom and Dad returned later and asked how everyone behaved, I said, “They were very good…just a very minor tiff over the hose but they worked it out themselves.”
Mom looked over at the two with a raised eyebrow. Their mutual reply was, “But we weren’t arguing…it’s called play arguing.”