Parents Corner: Creating Family Rules: Do’s and Don’ts

Family Rules helps everyone get along better. They help set the standard for behaviour in the home and contribute to a more positive emotional climate. So, why not get started on creating your own Family Rules? Here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts to kick things off.


  • Include an aspirational vision statement capturing what your family values, for example “we always treat each other with kindness and respect.”
  • Get everyone involved. Kids and teens are far more likely to ‘buy in’ to family rules if they have contributed to them. Kids as young as four or five years old can be a part of the process.
  • Keep rules consistent across both kids and grown-ups in the house. Kids and teens will respect this, and importantly they will learn from seeing grown-ups take responsibility for their actions.
  • Focus on what behaviour you want to see more of, not less of. For example, instead of making a rule such as, “we will not leave our dirty dishes on the table”, re-frame as “we will put our dishes in the dish washer after dinner.”
  • As a family, discuss consequences of breaking the rules. Make sure consequences are proportionate and logically relate to the broken rule. For example, when someone neglects to clear the table of dirty dishes, they will have additional kitchen cleaning duties that night.


  • Shove your Family Rules in a drawer somewhere. Consider displaying them in a communal space, such as the kitchen or living area, to keep everyone on track.
  • Let your Family Rules gather dust. It’s important to review them, especially as your children grow and develop and behavioural expectations change.
  • Neglect to address breaches of Family Rules. If there are no consequences for breaking them, the rules are not worth the paper they are written on.
  • Forget to celebrate wins. If you notice your kid or teen making a real effort to respect the rules, let them know. Consider organising a fun family movie night or picnic to reward group effort.

For more information and support with your parenting, contact our Parenting Facilitator Monica on 0437 699 019 or email We offer free parenting programs including Triple P (Level 4), Tuning In To Kids, Parent Effectiveness Training, Bringing Up Great Kids and Peaceful parents.

Originally published in the Glenmore Gazette.

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