Break Your Own Parenting Rules From Time to Time

Establishing reasonable rules and boundaries that you then consistently enforce is the cornerstone of good parenting. On the other hand, life is tiresome now. Everything here is dark, dull and detached, and we could use a little fun. That’s why it might be time to change your rules a little.

I am not urging you to constantly throw your bedtime out the window or let the kids throw food at the walls to see what sticks. But nothing pleases a child more than a parent who accidentally starts jumping on the bed or claims that we are eating ice cream for dinner tonight.

As Pam J. Hecht writes for the Citizen Times :

Getting a little off track can be a catharsis when teaching skills like flexibility, flying in pants, and thinking outside the box. It can also strengthen the bond between parents and children.

If that means having a random sword fight with glowing foam sticks before bed, so be it. It can also include throwing laundry in a rather creative game of home tagging (after which a crash course on folding becomes necessary) or the occasional pillow fight to break the gloomy mood. Whatever you do, aim for laughter and a decent dose of stupidity.

Here are some ways to break your own rules and get out of the unpleasant rut you might find yourself in:

  • Try popcorn. This is considered a food fight, but not so messy.
  • Bring outdoor toys inside. I see no reason not to put the hoop in the living room right now.
  • Let the chips eat in bed, to hell with the crumbs.
  • Let them create new rules of the day for you to follow and watch them drink power.
  • Draw pictures on each other’s arms, legs, and faces using (washable) markers.
  • When you’re about to put them to bed, say, “Never mind, let’s not stay up late and watch a movie instead!”
  • Let them do dirty activities that you despise and usually refuse. (Maybe it’s slime, maybe it’s a glitter craft.)
  • Have a massive pillow fight or stuffed animal.
  • Tell them to splash around in the tub as much as possible. Wet this bathroom, who cares.

Of course, be careful. And you know your kids best – staying up late for the next three days is probably not worth breaking the rule. But if you break the rules a little, then you (and they) could use a psychological break right now.


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