F—FEW. The more you have, the tougher it is to keep and enforce them.
I—IMPORTANT. You should only create them if they are important to family life.
R—RELEVANT. Make sure they serve a relevant need and aren’t outdated.
S—SIMPLE. Your child should be able to remember and share them in one sentence.
T—TRANSFORMING. The rules should work to help shape the values of your child.
Part of me likes this list because his point is that relationship is more important than rules in guiding children. My fear is that this rule for rules will eliminate rules from most families.
I have observed parents that don’t like “too many rules”, yet when their child doesn’t do what they expect they degrade the child. For example, there are no rules about cleaning up the kitchen, yet, when the child leaves crumbs on the counter the parent raises their voice and declares, “What makes you think this kitchen is cleaned up? Open your eyes and clean up this disaster.”
If the parent explained, showed and practiced what was expected, the child would know what the rules of cleaning up the kitchen include and could be held to what they know without degrading.
Still, the most effective training tool is not a list of rules, but rather relationship. Tim Elmore puts it this way, “Rules are not bad. They just don’t transform the heart. They change behavior from the outside in, rather than the inside out. Love changes the heart and motives of a person. Love can get a person to do what a law can never get them to do.”