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Establishing Family Rules
Establishing Family Rules

In order for a "family unit" to run effectively, parents must be able to establish and enforce a pre-determined (often "unwritten") list of family rules. A good set of family rules can go far in helping to bring harmony and order to the household...and that, in turn, will lead to a happy family in a peaceful home.

The best way to get started is to schedule a family meeting so that everyone can get together to discuss the potential family rules. Family meetings are a great forum for such an endeavor. This allows each family member to provide input and to get clarification regarding the expectations of each rule.

When establishing family rules, be sure to keep the following standards in mind:

Rules should be...


General rules should apply to all family members. Concessions should be made for things like curfew and chores based on each family member's age, demonstrated responsibility, and developmental level.


An unenforceable rule really isn't a rule at's more of a request.

Realistic and/or Fair.

Unrealistic and unfair rules will only cause discontent and set family members up for failure.

Tied to a consequence.

Rules with no consequences are as effective as using masking tape in place of a dead-bolt to lock your front door at night.


Vague family rules are confusing and difficult to follow. Give detailed explanations and examples.


Family rules are actually written out and displayed (or accessible) for all to see.

If you are interested in taking things one step further and would like to try your hands at a well-established child behavior program then perhaps The Parent Coach Plan will help.

The Parent Coach Plan does more than just help with family rules, it actually helps parents to assign behavioral goals and other expectations for their children. Once these goals and expectations are put in place, children earn privileges and restrictions based on their ability to meet those pre-established goals.

The end result is improved behavior and happier families!

Chris Theisen is the creator of The Parent Coach Plan, a simple and easy-to-use in-home discipline program that provides parents with the information and tools that are needed to establish effective discipline. Use this program to develop a firm, fair, consistent, and structured discipline regimen in your home.