Four Rules To Simplify Parenting

The Four Rules play out in many different ways, but used when teaching or disciplining a child, each rule teaches what matters. This covers one:

Poster for those raised to know what matters

A Facebook post. Check out the EFTI Store for more parenting tips and inspiration. For now most  Poster Coaches can be downloaded free.

 The Four Rules

Respect yourself

Rule one: Respect self

Rule two: Respect others

Rule three: Respect property

Rule four: Respect reasonable laws

Examples of how to use each rule

Respect self:

“Respect yourself, stay safe.”
“Respect yourself, don’t let others hurt you.”
“Respect yourself; wash your hands before eating.”
“Respect yourself, eat healthy.”
“Respect yourself, stay out of trouble.”
“Respect yourself; don’t say things you will regret later.”
“Respect yourself, do the right thing.”

Respect others:

“Respect others, take turns.”
“Respect others, don’t gossip.”
“Respect others; say ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you.’”
“Respect others, don’t call names.”
“Respect others, keep your language clean.”
“Respect others; don’t talk when others are talking.”
“Respect others; keep your hands to yourself.”

Respect property:

“Respect property, don’t break your toys.”
“Respect property, don’t write on the wall.”
“Respect property, put your toys away.
“Respect property, keep things neat and clean.“
“Respect property, put your trash in the trash can.”
“Respect property, drive safely.”

Respect the law:

“Respect the law, cross when the light is green,”
“Respect the law, don’t take what does not belong to you.”
“Respect the law, don’t fight physically unless the other person physically attacks you first and you can’t get away.”
“Respect the law, if it is unreasonable, work to change it.”

 SIX tips to help enforce these rules

Parenting tip one: Put the rules in writing. Here they are as a Poster Coach you can download for free.  To use it print it up in color and post it where you will see it often.


Paths to the good life

Visit the EFTI Store for more tips, exercises, and inspiration. For the  month of May and June, most Poster Coaches can be downloaded for free.

Do so even if your child is still in the cradle. You have to model the rules and that means thinking of this way a  habit. The poster Coach will help you do that. The more times you frame unacceptable or acceptable behavior using these rule, the more doing so becomes a good habit.

Parenting tip two:  Teach according to age and stage. For example, “Respect the law, cross when the light is green” works for beginning to teach the rules. “Respect the law, if it is unreasonable work to change it.” works for teens.

Parenting tip three: Use a warning system when a child is about to break a rule or is already breaking it.  Tell the child what the rule is, announce a punishment if the rule is broken or in the process of being broken, give some good.   Think TAG,   Examples:

T = Tell.  The school called and said you cut three classes today. A = Announce. You won’t get any good behavior money tonight. G = Give.  You did better yesterday.  I hope you can get your act together again soon.  I know you like doing things the right way.  It is up to you.

T = Tell.  I am missing $5.00 from my pocket-book. A = Announce.  As we agreed, when I miss money, your allowance pays. G = Give. I would like to give you all the money you want, but I can’t.  What happens next is up to you. The rules are clear.

After you TAG a child, end the conversation then and there.  If you must, get up and leave the room while saying something like “I don’t have time to discuss this further, you broke the rule, you know the punishment, I have more important things to do.”

Thomas Phelon uses a variation of TAG this with his One, Two, Three Magic , Both are great ways to discipline and can begin when you child is  two years old.

Parenting tip four: Ignore rule three when the child is engaging in unsafe or destructive behavior.  That is the time to take a hint from the dogs – growl menacingly; in human terms grwoling means, scream and shout, send the kid immediately to time out or if necessary physically force obedience.

Parenting tip five: When you have to scream and shout, use the CARE response to mend the relationship. C is for confronting unacceptable behavior or behavior that has stepped on your last nerve. A is for allying with the person you just blasted, take a calming breath, soften your voice, remember the good things about the person; R is for reviewing what set you off. This occasionally means apologizing and admitting you are have a bad mood moment. The main purpose of the R, however, is to see if the child knows what s/he did wrong, so depending on the child’s age state what made you blow or for preteens and teens ask if they know what the did that lead to your screaming and shouting.  E is End on a positive note. “I know you can do better” is one way to end. For the child who still loves hugs, a hug combined with the above works well.

Parenting tip six: Strengthen your self-soothing skills. Try these Easy Emotional Fitness Exercises or buy my eBook Self-soothing to Create Calm in Your Life.  The book costs less than a latte and does more good. Remember you do not need a kindle to read an eBook. Amazon has a free application you can download to read any of their books on any device. 


Remember’s sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness right now is to share this post with someone who will find it inspiring. Thank you.



This word press daily prompt inspired this post – Placebo Effect: If you could create a painless, inexpensive cure for a single ailment, what would you cure and why?

I think I would opt to cure bad manners, as essentially good manners mean respecting yourself, others, property, and reasonable laws.

One response to “Four Rules To Simplify Parenting

  1. Pingback: Hope cures old wounds | Ireland, Multiple Sclerosis & Me

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