Your kids only need one or two house rules. Use this the first house rule and your house will run much more smoothly whether you have toddlers or teenagers.
I am all for simplicity. It took me a while, but I finally figured out the best house rules. I figured out by the time my kids were teens I only needed two house rules for teenagers. The first one is definitely the most important.
Importance of House Rules for Kids
Running the household as a single parent was overwhelming. I was struggling to balance work, parenting and the mundane chores of laundry, cooking, cleaning and home repair.
I needed more time and more energy. The frequent minor power struggles over household rules were exhausting. I had to think of something to make my life easier.
One night it hit me. We only really needed one house rule, maybe two. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t thought of this before. It is important to have few family rules, don’t complicate life by having too many rules for the kids. The rules kids have you need to enforce consistently.
I have seen so many problems happen in families and in kids’ lives when parents say one thing and do another, but those stories will need to wait for another day. House rules provide a predictable environment and save parents time and energy.
Let’s get to the most important of the house rules for teenagers.
Best House Rule Ever for Kids of All Ages
The most important of the house rules for kids is “Respect the Mother.” After I told them the number 1 rule, we had a discussion about what it means to respect the mother.
This rule sounds simple and it is, but it covers a lot of behavior when you think about it. This family rule covers don’t cause worry, do your share, and make good decisions.
Don’t Cause Worry an Important House Rule for Teenagers
It is my nature and the nature of most mothers to worry about our children. That means a mom needs to know where her kids are, what they are doing, who they are with, and at whose house they’re scheduled to sleep.
Back when phones could be set up with quick texts, my son put one in my phone that said simply “Status?”.
When my kids got that text it meant I needed to know where you are, what you are doing, and who you are with. It’s a simple request and not overly intrusive for independent teens.
It’s also a subtle reminder “What would your mother think if she could see you now?”.
Do Your Share House Rule for Kids Eases Mom’s Overwhelm
Respecting the mother also means pitching in and helping. We were never in a position to have a household cook or cleaner. This is the case for most families raising children with one parent in the home (and most with two parents in the home).
We talked about how, as family members, we do what needs to be done. Everyone pitches in to do the work.
Mom is not another word for servant. The expectation was to do what needed to be done and get “bonus points”(a pat on the back and a word of appreciation) for noticing what needed to be done and doing it without being asked.
If you need a more systematic approach this chore system works wonders or try these chore cards for kids to get your kids to help around the house.
Make Good Decision
House Rules for Little Kids
I have had clients who are parenting preschoolers ask for advice on the child’s back-talking and defiance. I made a slight modification to the number one rule and suggested they implement the rule as, “Be nice to the mother.”
I have had reports that after teaching the child his simple rule, the parent could often stop defiance by asking, “Are you following the number one rule?” or “Are you being nice to Mommy?”
I have a copy of our house rules in my resource library for you to print. You can look at another option for house rules here or here, if you want more than 2 house rules.
House Rules for Kids Free Printable
10 Things I Learned Raising Teenage Boys
5 Surefire Ways to Stop Whining
How to Raise an Extraordinary Person
Pay Off For the Best Ever Family House Rule
I knew the number one rule had worked when one of my sons, as a senior in high school,
reported that our house was different than his friends’ houses. “How is that?” I asked.
“We have no rules,” he said.
He explained, “as long as I am respectful and make good decisions I can do what I want.” He went on to explain, “making good decisions is usually common sense—what anyone would do.”
I wasn’t sure what to say. The thought that went through my head was, “Fear not if you do not make good decisions, there will be less opportunity to do what you want.”
I responded, after a moment of speechlessness, “Yep, that’s true.”
Your home will be running so much smoother with this new house rule you will have more time for some fun family activities. If you don’t have a family game night tradition why not start one.
If you want a reminder of the number one rule check out these cups and T-shirts.
For more tips on raising sons as a single mom, you can find my advice here.
Read about our second and last household rule in Parenting Rule #2.
5 Worst Single Mom Fears (& How to Cope With Them Like a Pro)
42 Fun Activities for Kids to Do at Home
How to Have Amazing Conversations with Your Kids
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Very good and useful 🙂 might need to try that rule as often forget this x
Jenny, I am glad you find it helpful. It saved me a lot of stress.
I think this is a great rule! Respect starts in the home and kids will do better at school and in their job when they learn this!
Absolutely, more people loose their jobs because they can not get along with people than because they can not do their job.
I THINK TOO MANY PARENTS ARE TRYING TO BE THEIR KIDS’ FRIEND INSTEAD OF THE PARENT. fURTHER, THEY ARE SO BUSY, THAT THEY WOULD RATHER LET THINGS SLIDE THAN TO TAKE TIME TO CORRECT IN LOVE. tHIS LEADS TO MORE PROBLEMS. rESPECT IS HUGE.
Thanks for stopping by JoJo. A few rules take less time, not more.
So well said !
Great post, full of really helpful tips in this post. Like others have said, I think being a parent first and then a friend to your kids should be the number one priority for all parents. No matter what.
I am glad you found it helpful, Amanda. Yes, being a parent first is important.
Leah @ Love and Blues
100% agree! I love this. We started using the 1-2-3 Magic method for discipline and it’s amazing – it’s along the same lines, where you respect Mom or she takes privileges away. Quick, easy, and painless – especially for a 2-year-old 😉
Thank you for the reminder!
Leah, I am glad you enjoyed it.
Magnificent site. Plenty of helpful info here. I am sending it to a few buddies ans additionally sharing. And of course, thank you to your effort!
This is great advice. I can attest that a similar rule in our home has made a huge difference. It is a family rule of “Respect One Another” which includes the whole family. It has tampered so much of the fighting between siblings that had become almost constant and of course includes the teen to parent relationship. They are allowed one reminder or question asking if they are being respectful to the other person (or each other) and if they continue there is s consequence of going to their room for 30 min. They hate this consequence so it (almost) always works. It’s even recently led to unsolicited apologies after things are turned around!
empowerd single moms
Diane, Your rule is great! I just didn’t think of it, but of course, it is not respectful to the mother to be disrespectful to siblings either.
I love this! I’ve got a teen and a tween so definitely in the thick of it with hormones and emotions. But having RESPECT as a foundational given and expectation is the best rule EVER!
When leaving the oldest child at college for the first time, I asked her to not do something stupid that could ruin the rest of her life. Like your rule(s) for teenagers this covers a lot of territory. Luckily, she and her sister did not and both are happily married with great jobs. They have given me five precious grandchildren. When I see how they are raising their children, I know I have done something good in my life.
Diane, It is so great to see our children succeeding and know that we played a part in that success. Good for you congratulations on a job well done.
Rightly said !
Number one rule always should be respect your mother. If child follows this every other thing becomes easier for mother and child.
Love this. With my kids it was pretty similar although I didn’t call it respect the mother but I wish I had as it sets them up for the long term.
Glad it worked for you too
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I’m so glad it was helpful