I watched a programme a few weeks ago about no rules parenting and it really got me thinking.
I am a believer that rules are a good thing, they bring structure and routine and boundaries, all of which are things I feel children need and often crave when they are absent. However, when does it become too many rules?
I listened to myself the other day and it felt like every other word out of my mouth was either “don’t do that” or “you know you shouldn’t do that” or the good old favourite “be careful”. I stopped and listened to the words which slipped so easily out of my mouth and thought “I must sound like the most boring, moaning person in the world to my boys.”
Obviously some of the things I was saying we’re to keep them safe or because sometimes there just needs to be a firm no that’s not allowed, but how much of what I was saying no too was because it was habit or because I saw the outcome of the situation as a hassle to my day? How many of the No’s were unnecessary?
Kids want to explore, they want to be wild, they want to be noisy and they want to do things that aren’t convenient or easy or quiet or tidy, so how many no’s are in act stifling their learning process and exploration rather than keeping them safe or creating boundaries?
And what’s more, with all these no’s and rules flying around how many of the important ones, the ones which are actually the life lessons are falling on deaf ears, drowned out by the white noise of mummy and daddy “being boring”?
Dare I say it but maybe all the no’s and rules are actually making our kids push back even harder, arguing against the no’s simply because to them that’s the way this whole parent kid thing works.
With that all whirling round like an alarming realisation which I felt had come too late into my 5 years of trying my hand at parenting, I decided to try and chill the hell out a bit.
We walked through the woods and I didn’t constantly say “be careful”, “watch the mud”, “don’t go up there”, “don’t stand in that”, “don’t splash” and guess what, no one died, the world didn’t implode and no one had a tantrum half way round because they felt like they were being forced to do something they didn’t want to do. We had fun. We laughed and searched for The Gruffalo and we got messy.
I continued my new approach. One of the twins was adamant he didn’t want a bath, now usually I’d have said “you’re having one” and marched him up stairs kicking and screaming which would be followed by fits of hysteria as I tried to undress him. Instead I said “ok mate you don’t have too” and what did he do, he played for two minutes and then ran upstairs to join his brothers in the bath. A bloody miracle!
I’m sure it won’t always work out like today did but I’m pretty damn sure I’m onto something, and so are all the other parents who take a more “yes” than “no” approach. I know I could never me a no rules mum but I’m certainly going to give being a less rules mum a bloody good go. Xxx