As I've mentioned in the past, a huge pet peeve of mine are parents who allow their children to do whatever they want and then complain because they do not behave. Sure it's easier to give in, especially when your out in public but that only hurts your ability to parent successfully. I am not trying to "claim" that I have it all figured out because there is a level of chaos that goes on in our home. However, having children of many ages and stages along with all of their friends who vary in their upbringing and behavior I have found that it can be very exhausting to set the ground rules every single time someone new was in our home. I would like to say that I could depend on my children to set those rules with their own friends but...that doesn't always work. I found myself disciplining my own children for their friends actions.
So a few years back I came up with a system of posting our family rules for all to see. The funniest part of this system is when my two older boys have friends over, I see these teenagers reading them. They have even called my children out on breaking some of the rules. I write them on a dry erase board so that I can update it as need be. For instance, our oldest had 4 boys (wrestlers) sleep over one night before a tournament. One of the boys was making watermelon, fried chicken comments to another. When I spoke out and told him that it was not acceptable, he said,"Oh Mrs. C it's okay I've known him since 1st grade!" I had to have a more lengthy conversation with him and then the next day I added the NO RACISM to the board. I have also had to add some pretty silly ones, but you know...it is really true when the experts say that kids WANT rules because while at a sport function at school I overheard a boy say to my son..."Hey that's against your mom's rules!" I try to keep as much humor attached to it as possible. My oldest has always had those lawyer type tactics. He needs to see the rules in black and white (or color like i have it). He may have slapped his brother but if I ask, "did you just punch your brother?' He will deny it because he slapped him not punched him. I have to be very clear with my interrogation. You know, you want a smart kid but their intelligence can come back and bite you in the rear end if your not careful.
It takes a lot of un-needed stress off my shoulders and all of these kids continue to come back to my home and hang out, so they can't be too horribly strict for them. Although I do wear the "strictest mom in town" award with pride! As long as my kids behave in public and show integrity when I am not around then I don't mind being the ogre at home. I really just want everyone to HAVE FUN!