Teaching the Rules
Teaching and enforcing rules are fundamentals of parenting. Often times, it coincides with certain values that parents want to pass down to their children. In our household, we keep to 3 simple rules that Livy isn’t allowed to do:
Breaking these 3 rules have heavy consequences for her. I personally like to keep the rules simple and few for ease of learning. These rules are grounded biblically and taken from the 10 commandments.
However, teaching Livy the rules is a whole different matter. One of the common things done teaching the child that the bible states this and that… or quoting the bible verses to backup these rules. I personally don’t like doing this because God has already given parents the authority over their children and there really isn’t a need to have God’s authority to back ours up. In doing so, it tends to send the message that parents don’t have actual authority.
Another reason for not teaching Livy that the rules are because “God says so….” is that in doing so, she will miss out the heart of the matter. My explanation to Livy for following the rules is that when the rules are broken, they hurt the people we love. When she disrespects us, she gives the message that she doesn’t care for us. When she disobeys us, she gives us the message that she doesn’t want to be part of this family. When she is dishonest, it breaks the trust that we have in her… All these things will slowly eat away at the love in the relationship.
If I were to teach her that the rules are what God says…. then she could possibly learn that the rules are about pleasing God… the truth is far from it. What we desire to teach Livy is that God’s pleasure isn’t linked to her ability to follow the rules, but rather, in her heart.