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DWD: Rules and "consistency"...

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  • DWD: Rules and "consistency"...

    I truly enjoyed pages 38-42 on the golden rules about rules. It was SO like my house to read about the food rule (no food in the living room... okay, no wet food... okay, wet food today because we're in a hurry... okay, no wet food today because I'm tired and out of patience...). I love that in the end the "rule" was that food choices would be negotiated daily. I loved being freed from the idea that a rule must be the same over time because somehow children can't understand the subtle reasons they would change based on circumstance. "Life is about change and inconsistency - about having different feelings, moods, and needs from one day to the next"(p.41). I've had this discussion with my husband, who has some concerns about "consistent boundaries". I much prefer the concept of communicating needs, and making sure that there are "rules" in place to make sure everyone's needs are being met. And if needs change, why wouldn't the rules? And as for children needing consistency for security...."Knowing the specifics expectations of each situation makes a person more secure than knowing the general rule that tries to cover all situations and breaks down because of inconsistency." (p.41). Yay!

    I also appreciated this passage on page 40: "At what age should a parent seek input into a rule from a child? Usually, when the child is ignoring, rebelling against, or balking against a rule. That's a first indication the rule doesn't meet everyone's needs and may require reworking." And on page 42: "If you've made a rule that isn't working for all concerned, don't be afraid to change it. Simply tell the child or family member, 'This rule isn't working for me. My needs are not getting met. What can we do instead?'. And finally, also on page 42, "We don't have discipline problems in our house. We have conflicts that need to be negotiated."

    This whole way of framing things really resonates with me. How about you? Do you feel a need to be "consistent" in your rules? If so, why? When your child balks at a rule (or breaks it), is your instinct to enforce the rule more strictly, or to renegotiate the rule into something that the child is more likely to follow?

  • #2
    wow! what layers of wisdom!!

    for me, i don't have as much of a need to be consistent about rules as ds1. in fact, i like a life w/very few rules. when i was a classroom teacher, i only had 1: Respect yourself and others. but w/ds1, if we make a rule, i have to make sure I can live w/it, b/c i know he's going to enforce every one! we have more trouble trying to help him be flexible and learn "Life is about change and inconsistency".

    now that we're using the Peace Table, we have a means by which to change things, but i always have to keep in mind his gravitation towards consistency.


    • #3
      This is a wonderful question. I truly hate the word rules and yet as my DD was nearing the 4 age I found myself speechless with what word to use in its place. In my playgroup we discussed this and we were all really perplexed until we discovered that it wasn't rules that we were balking at but what the word rule symbolizes. When I think of "rule" it symbolizes to me authority, no compromise, and lack of input into the rule. So, we came up with a comfortable set of words to use in it's place such as guideline, boundary, a requirement... but in general we just don't use those words. We instead use feeling or need wordes... Please stop hitting the dog because we need him to feel safe. That is something that is uncompromising on but I don't feel the need to identify it as a rule per say.

      We only feel a consistent set of boundaries when it comes to safety, emotional hurt, and personal boundaries. All else we kind of keep consistent but some things just flow.