Right now I’m doing something that I hope will improve our every day and curb some of the complaining. Particularly from me.
I’m writing down our house rules.
I often wonder why some of our rules are followed by the boys yet others require huge amounts of reminding. Or maybe more to the point, why a certain rule is second nature to one but not to someone else.
I’m reading a book at the moment called ‘The Four Tendencies’ by best-selling non-fiction author Gretchen Rubin. It’s not a parenting book and it’s not a book about following rules, it’s a book about personality types.
From the book these are the four personality types..
- Obliger– “You can count on me, and I’m counting on you to count on me” Meets outer expectations, resists inner expectations.
- Questioner– “I’ll comply-if you convince me why” Resists outer expectations, meets inner expectations.
- Upholder– “Discipline is my freedom” Meets outer and inner expectations.
- Rebel– “You can’t make me, and neither can I” Resists outer expectations, resists inner expectations.
In it Rubin says "In just about all situations framing expectations to suit the four tendencies can bring more cooperation. In most cases when we try to influence others, we use the strategies that would work on us. The four tendencies can help us, instead, to give other people what they need – not what we need."
Here are some of the rules that are important in our home…
- Take your shoes off at the door.
- Empty your school bag when you come home from school.
- Wash your hands before meals.
- Sit at the table until everyone is finished.
- Don’t stand up from the table with food in your mouth.
- No toys at the table.
- No food in any other rooms of the house apart from the kitchen.
- Clear your plate to the counter when you’re finished eating.
- No standing or jumping on the furniture.
- No throwing in the house. Ball games only allowed in the landing where nothing can be knocked over – or even better OUTSIDE!
- Tidy toys away when you’re finished playing.
- No teasing. If you can’t say something nice don’t say anything.
- Be kind to each other. Use a kind voice when speaking to other people in our family.
- Be polite. Remember your good manners. Always say hello and goodbye to people who come to our home. Always say please and thank you.
- No fighting games first thing in the morning.
- Remember all the rules of our home!
So, for example, when asking my 'questioner' son Callum (who has the same personality type as his Dad) to take his shoes off at the door he will comply if he's convinced why. Questioners question all expectations and meet them only if they believe they are justified. Instead of saying "Don't forget to take off your shoes" every single time he forgets, I could instead change the delivery to "Remember not to walk dirt into the house".
Questioners will do what makes sense as customised for them.
So while I’m in the process of writing out our ‘House Rules’ they’re about to be rethought, and more importantly reframed (especially on delivery!), so every personality-type in the family will cooperate.