Posted June 11, 2015 by jimhigley
Let’s get one thing clear: I do believe in rules.
I especially believe in rules for kids. They need them. And they’re happier when they live in a world framed with clear, understandable rules put in place by mom and dad. Yes, happier. Even when they complain that they don’t like them. And families simply function better when they have a logical set of rules and expectations as part of their foundation.
But every once in a while I think it’s fun to bend (and even break) a rule. Not the kind of “rule breaking” that can get you arrested or sent to the principal’s office. I’m talking about the breaking of family rules. And I’m talking about a kind of rule-breaking that is done with mom and dad. Or at least with their blessing.
Like having ice cream for breakfast every once in a while.
Or staying up past bedtime to finish a movie with mom or dad.
Not making one’s bed.
Or wearing PJs all day.
And why is this so important?
Well first, a little bit of spontaneity goes a long, long way. It not only brings a smile to everyone’s face – it can also instill a reminder with children that mom and dad are real people. Who laugh. And have the capacity to be silly. Not just rule-makers 24/7.
Second, a little bit of spontaneity teaches kids how to be flexible and loosen up. Life isn’t always perfect. And children who grow up with rigid rules that never go a little off course are often the very adults who have problems adjusting when life throws an occasional curveball.
Periodic rule bending also makes it easier to enforce the rules the other 99% of the time. It’s a break. And it helps reset the rule button.
But most of all, a little breaking of the rules with mom and dad creates memories. And connections. It builds a library of bona fide inside jokes that are only important – or funny – to those who matter most. Your family.
So keep calm. Embrace the spontaneity.
This memory is part of a series of stories I’m sharing during the months of May and June – highlighting the importance of connecting with our children. These memories are brought to you by the wonderful folks at Kimberly-Clark who have compensated me for my writing. All opinions are my own.