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Questioning rules and standards

April 5, 2013

Here’s a life-changing idea…

In his book, The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting, Laurence Steinburg says,

“I hate to see parents develop the sort of mind-set that turns every dispute [of rules] with their child into a battle in which there has to be a winner and a loser” (p. 98).

 In other words…

It is natural for our children to resist our rules and push limits. They are learning how to think and act independently. As parents, it is our responsibility to teach values and maintain standards, but in doing so, we can also acknowledge our children’s experiences and feelings with compassion and authenticity. We can look for solutions that help our children maintain standards in ways that we all feel good about.

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life…                                                         

The next time your child questions the value of certain rules or standards, rather than demand immediate obedience, invite a discussion. Why does the child disagree? What does he or she think is a reasonable rule? When the child is feeling understood, you might share with your child the reasons behind the rules. You may not come to quick agreement but at least you and your child will better understand each other. And you may choose to keep the rule as the dialogue continues over time.

To find out more…

about parenting, check out The Parenting Journey or See the World Through My Eyes programs at, follow us at or contact your local county Extension agent. You might also enjoy reading The Ten Basic Principles of Good Parenting.

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