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House Rules
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Our house has just three rules. Well, really we have a TON of rules, but Mike and I are sneaky, sneaky parents who have found a way to classify all rules into the Three Rules. 

A a kid in our house is likely to be asked periodically, "What are the rules?"

To which he or she will reply, "Be honest, be obedient, be respectful."

And then the follow up question is usually,
And WHICH one did you have trouble with?, and then the conversation goes from there. 

Those three rules cover everything, really. Ethan-6yr is smacking his brother with a stick in the backyard...? He'll tell you he's not beng respectful of his brother (or respectful of his brother's need to keep his skin in one, large, unbroken piece) if you ask him. See how those three blanket rules cover lots?

One of the things Mike and I have always drilled home is that if one of us should give a kid an answer, that child better NOT go to the other parent and try to get a different answer. (This also falls under 'Be respectful.')

Last night Ethan-6yr came and asked me if he could have a bandaid. We try to avoid the common childhood psychological ailment of Bandaid Dependency, so I looked at the tiny cut before saying, "Sure." It was a borderline call, really. I took into account that he was up late and tired and it really did have a speck of blood if you looked closely.

He said, "Oh thank you," and started to leave to get the bandaid. Then he stopped, thinking hard while he turned around, and said, "Um.... it's really important.... when you have a medical problem.... to get a...a... second opinion."

I was left, wondering WHAT he meant as he tore out of the room at top speed.  He was already in the bathroom cabinet when I realized what he'd done, and how he'd 'sold' me on it!


What a stinker.

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Your Comments

Ginger Said:

That's hilarious. You have one very bright young man there!

on Jul 3, 2006 4:00:41 PM
Sara Said:

Oh, he is so smart!!!
But I love the three rules -- they really do cover everything!

on Jul 3, 2006 5:13:42 PM
Heth Said:

"A second opinion" *snort*

That kid.....

on Jul 3, 2006 5:21:17 PM
Yecy Said:

How come we weren't that smart when we were kids? My son asked me if he could be a construction worker in order to avoid college. I said that would be a great job, but if he went to college, he could be an engineer and own the company (I thought I was being so smart) He looked at me and asked: "Can't I just hire an engineer?"

on Jul 3, 2006 5:31:10 PM
owlhaven Said:

Smart kid!


on Jul 3, 2006 6:19:15 PM
Julie Said:

I love the 3 rules. I think I might try that.

on Jul 3, 2006 7:47:18 PM
Carol Said:

Good three rules. Mine are close to yours: Be kind, be honest, be safe.

I think it's a whole lot easier for kids to have only three rules to remember and obey. And it's great abstract and critical thinking for them to figure out how everything fits under those three rules.

Ethan is a genius, you know.

on Jul 3, 2006 8:18:11 PM
Stephanie Said:

Great rules!! And smart kiddo:) What I want to know is what kind of discipline do they recieve for breaking the rules? I need some advice BIG time.

on Jul 3, 2006 8:46:36 PM
Tess Said:

second opinion *snorting* that was great stuff

on Jul 3, 2006 9:05:45 PM

Oh. You're in trouble. lol. He's that sharp at 6 years? What's his brain going to be capable of at 16? Come to think of it, maybe 16 isn't so much a threat -- how about 26?

on Jul 3, 2006 10:06:35 PM
Sarah Said:

It sounds like "sneaky" parents breed sneaky kids:) And the second opinion? That's brilliant. So the question is, did you let him keep the Band-Aid?

on Jul 3, 2006 11:00:54 PM
Geekwif Said:

That kid is one smart cookie! If I lived with a child that smart, I swear, I would be completely intimidated.

on Jul 3, 2006 11:24:49 PM
oshee Said:

I love your three rules. Makes it all so simple..most of the time..as you show.

on Jul 4, 2006 12:20:52 AM
J-mom Said:

Hi Holy Mama - Daughter,
As Ethan's grandmother downunder, I just had to comment on this post. I have been on the receiving end of many "Ethanisms" and the part I enjoy most is watching his facial expression while he is "perfecting" the wording. His gorgeous brown eyes look up to the left as his amazing brain and imagination kick in to high gear to best explain a concept to his audience.

To be honest, by far his best audience is his mom because he knows exactly the right mix of fact, selling points and convincing delivery to present to her. Ethan gets his answer and is in the next room before HM starts to experience the familiar feeling of "what did Ethan just sell me on now?"
If you understand Ethan logic, you can see his concepts are based on lots of knowledge, observation, personal experience and an amazing ability to weave everything together in an "Ethanism" such as second medical opinions for a band-aid.
Thanks for reading to the end of Ethan's grandmother's first ever blog comment. See what I mean about his persuasive powers?
Cheers, J-mom

on Jul 4, 2006 3:37:23 AM
Mom Nancy Said:

You'd better keep an eye on that kid! He's tricky!

on Jul 4, 2006 7:37:49 AM
Heather Said:

Hey - how fun that we got GRANDMA'S perspective!!!

I love the three rules. I may have to adopt them. :-) We have similar principles in place, but haven't ever clarified them into 3 simple rules.

And one of the biggest no-nos in our house is also the "get what you want by asking the second parent" thing.

on Jul 4, 2006 8:38:19 AM
Stacey Said:

That's a great idea Kelsey!!

on Jul 4, 2006 8:54:47 AM
cheeriobutt Said:

That's soo cute! Ha!

on Jul 4, 2006 9:11:31 AM
mandy Said:


What do you FEED that kid? Lots of protien, I presume.

I love your rules and I am gonna borrow them for my house!

on Jul 4, 2006 11:46:38 AM
chelle Said:

hehe I love the second opinion comment!!!

on Jul 4, 2006 2:01:57 PM
Jan Said:

I think the three simple rules concept rocks. I do the same kind of thing in my classroom, and the kids get the funniest look on their faces trying to figure out which rule their offense fits under, and how they are going to "sell" me on not awarding consequences.
Ethan is brainy and funny!

on Jul 4, 2006 2:08:04 PM
mamakraft Said:

Yep, a smart guy alright!
What is it with kids and Band-Aids? I really should have bought some stock when I had my first child; I think I would have been a millionaire by now!

on Jul 4, 2006 8:30:52 PM
bluepaintred Said:

ohhhhhhh.. you just totally got your three houise rules stolen!
I know, its not honest respectful or ...well if you didn't specifically say NOT to take them, am I being disobediant? I think I will get a second opinion!

on Jul 5, 2006 12:11:40 AM

Funny--that smarty pants!


on Jul 5, 2006 12:48:43 AM
Angry Dad Said:

Wow, you're Ethan sounds just like my Ethan! Thanks for dropping by my blog too!

on Jul 5, 2006 7:59:17 AM