Family Home Evening: Respecting Family Rules

An important concept to teach our children is the importance of family rules and following them. Children should understand that the rules are there for a reason, and should have a chance to voice their opinion about the rules when you make them. You may want to hold a family home evening or family council meeting specifically about family rules.

You can open the lesson by asking your children to list some of the rules or laws that they have to follow at school or that we have to follow in our country. Talk about why these rules are there. What happens if we break the rules? Then you can share the story of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments. They can learn what happened to the Israelites because they chose not follow the commandments. The spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness. It is important that there are consequences to breaking the rules. You may want to talk about the consequences of breaking the rules.

Then sit down as a family and come up with a list of basic rules. The list should not be longer than ten, but ideally five rules are good for a family. You can combine the “Don’t Hit”, “Don’t Bite” and other similar rules into “Don’t Hurt Each Other.” Similarly you can negotiate the terms of certain rules. For example if you have teenagers, they may want to argue curfew with you, or rules about dating. If you make it an open discussion, they are more likely to obey the rules willingly. Some rules are not flexible, but if you can give a little when you and your children disagree with the fairness or necessity of a rule, it helps your children feel that the rules are fair.

After you have determined a set of rules, you need to set up consequences. Simplicity is the key to this working. Generally all rules should receive the same punishment, which should match the age and the responsibility level of the child. Grounding for two weeks may be necessary for teenagers, but does not make sense for a four year old. Again it is important to allow your children to voice their opinions in this process.

Close your family home evening by reading Doctrine and Covenants 88:119 and explain that you have established a house of order. It is important each child recognizes the role that they play in making the home a place that is welcoming to everyone. You can have refreshments as a family.

Related Articles:

Family Home Evening: Agency and Accountability

Five Topics to Cover in Your Family Council