Are your Kids Rule Keepers?

Are your Kids Rule Keepers?

Joey and Carla Link

October 16, 2019


While adults know the rules, they don’t always think they need to live by them unless they get caught. Which of us does not slow down, no matter how fast or slow we are going when we see a police car on the side of the road?  We were recently traveling through New York City and as we approached a tunnel, there was a sign that said “Don’t cross the line while in the tunnel”. Obviously, that wasn’t good enough, because they had to put up barriers to keep them in their lane.


The same thing happens with our kids. Your parenting signs would say “Don’t ride your bike in the street” or “Pick up your toys before you get a new one out”. But when the parents aren’t looking, their kids do what they want because the most painful consequences they get from their parents are threats they know their parents won’t follow through on, yelling, reminding and lecturing. Certainly not painful enough to stop them from doing exactly what they want when they want.


So how do you get your child to obey your rules?

Most of us don’t like rules. We don’t like being told what to do, when to do it or how to do it. We like to be independent and make our own decisions because we believe that we know what’s best. This holds true for kids as well as adults.


  1. Keep your rules simple. Think of putting it on a sign. That’s how short it should be. They get a toy out whenthey put one away.
  2. Know your reasonfor the rule. Make sure your kids (if they are old enough) understand it or they won’t follow it.
  3. The rule needs to make practical senseto your child. “Don’t ride your bike in the street” isn’t practical to a child who thinks he is old enough to. “Don’t ride your bike in the street because the driver of an oncoming car may not be paying attention and he could hit you,” makes practical sense to a child.
  4. When your child steps out of line, he/she needs a painfulconsequence. The fines the adult drivers going through this tunnel got were obviously not enough to stop the majority of them from changing lanes. If the state impounded a person’s car for a week or month it would make a difference, but of course they can’t because they don’t have any place to put the impounded cars. In the same way, parents can take away their kids freedom’s, but like a car, the freedom they lose needs to be something they want and need to use.
  5. Parents need to obeyrules too!If we had one of our grandchildren in the van when we drove through that tunnel in New York City and they asked what the posts were for, how embarrassing for the adult community at large that the kids would learn they don’t obey the rules. Children are always watching us and not much gets by them.


“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.

Do what it says…Don’t be a listener who forgets

but a doer who acts for he will be blessed by his doing.”

James 1:22, 25


“Whoever heeds discipline shows the way to life,

but whoever ignores correction leads others astray.”

Proverbs 10:17