People often ask me how I handle 4 boys. This morning Pey woke up up ill. Matter of fact, he stays ill the majority of the time. I'm reassured by people and told it's just his age. 12. I dread 13 If 12 is the culprit of this humor he stays in all the time. Always hateful and a smarta**.
I was NOT a smart mouth child. Actually I didn't really talk at all. I was always so scared of being, doing or saying something I wasn't supposed to or that wasn't excepted that it was just easier to keep my thoughts to myself. What few times I did speak when I growing up only resulted in being grounded from one of the few things I was allowed and it was never explained to me what I had done or said that was so wrong any farther in detail than a few words. The most famous line was, "people who talk like that (say those things, think that way or behave that way) go to Hell". I wasn't sure exactly sure what Hell was or what I had done to earn a ticket there but I was certain it wasn't a place I wanted to be.
When my children were born I was determined not to repeat the things my parents done or said to make me so gun shy to speak and be my own person. At the same time I did want my children to have morals and good roots, but I did not want those qualities scared into them like they were me. Their tactics clearly didn't work the best because I have sure made some doozie of mistakes.
I have a few simple rules in my home. One is we don't speak or act rudely to each other. Yes, that's a vague rule that can branch out in several direction but I think it's clear in what it means. No hollering, no smart mouth, ect. I feel we can all discuss anything in a calm voice with each person having a turn to speak. No speaking over each other or interrupting. The little boys have the most problem with this rule. They are terrible about interrupting, but are getting better. I believe a respectful "mouth" will take you a long way. And when they do speak nasty to their brothers or me I would never in a million and ten years threaten them with burning in a never cooling Hell!! Geeezzzzz oh Pete.
Apologize. The exact words I told Pey this a.m when he smarted off and hurt my feelings right off the bat, was....."Peyton, when someone makes it clear to you that you have said or done something to hurt them. Say your sorry. Don't try and justify your words or actions. A true sincere apology IS NOT "I'm sorry......but"
I have been guilty more then once of telling the boys not to back talk me. Honestly, what is back talking? Is there a definition on it? we as adults have our own idea of what "back talking" is, but I think most of us change the laws on it daily depending on the mood we are in and how much we feel like listening too. I think this rule is the parents way of saying "I'm sick of talking about this with you, so just hush and do what I say". Kids just want to be heard. They have opinions and questions and we are supposed to be the ones who answers those. I received most of my answers at school, from friends or on the school bus. I'd hope most parents would agree those are not always the best resources to get answers from. I do not enforce this rule as long as what they are commenting or asking is not done so in a rude manner. (see, I told you that rule can branch out in several different ways)
Of course we have to normal stuff that the boys know they are not allowed to do. Ride/walk in the road alone. Go anywhere without asking. (Pey and Eli break this A LOT now that they are grown) If you mess it up, clean it up. (this includes their own bedrooms and their bathroom. I do not make the boys clean up a bedroom that does not belong to them. That's not fair to them. It's plenty for a 8 year old to be responsible for their own bedroom.) Peyton is oldest therefore is able to do more things then his younger brothers. He hangs up his own clothes. After I do laundry I separate the boys clothes in piles. Peyton knows to take his pile and put it away ever couple of days. I hope his wife will thank me later for this. He knows how to perfectly hang up a pair of Sunday pants so that they have no wrinkles. Yay me!!
I do not allow burping, farting, or talk of their weenies at the kitchen table. (your allowed to laugh at that) I realize they are boys and these conversations will arise from time to time but I don't want to hear them especially while I'm having a meal. I think this one also applies under the don't be rude, rule.
They are expected to do their chores. I keep a chore book for them. It has a list of what is expected of them each day before they are allowed to play outside, play the Xbox or watch tv. It's nothing huge. Normally Peyton's consist of helping me feed/water the dogs, clean the kennel pens and once a week he mows if I didn't get a chance too. Normally I do that so he has time to mow the yards for the gentleman he works for a few hours a week. Eli is normally expected to to empty all the garbage cans in the house and take them to the can outside. Of course homework has to be done as well before they are free to reek havoc.
When I was a child I never had chores. I never cleaned my own room. Mom was particular and it didn't matter how I made my bed or cleaned my room. She still went back and redone it. I was never complimented for much that I done because it never measured up to how she expected our home to be presented. I love her for it tho. I can remember the few times I went to others homes and just wanted to be back home because of how nasty they seemed to me. As a adult now I find myself taking great pride in my home. It makes me very happy when children come to visit and admire that the house is clean or smells good. I know mom must have felt this way as well when I had had friends over. Unfortunately I was never allowed to personalize my room. My room always had the look and feel of a adults room. No pictures, bedding, ect. that were age appropriate. I let my kids do ALMOST whatever they choose with THEIR rooms. One day when they move out I will repair the thumb tack holes. Take down the basketball posters. Remove the football boarder. Paint over the orange and blue walls and replace the Harley, Cars, John Deer, and North Carolina bedding with something I'd prefer. No..............I won't. It will be left just as they had them.
I have taken with me several things from my childhood. Some I tried to improve upon and some were perfectly perfect they way they were done 25 years ago. The last requirement we have here is we tell each other we love one another everyday before one leaves, goes to bed, gets off the phone or just outta the blue if the mood strikes us. That's one thing my mommy never said to me to amount to anything. What few times I heard it it normally sounded something like....."I love you, but......" I love you is NEVER followed by "but" in our home.
I guess we really don't have many rules. Just love, listen to and respect each other. We could all take a lesson in those things.