As many families will know, satisfactory coexistence in the home is not something that arises spontaneously , but rather it must be practiced consciously by all members of the family. And that, sometimes, is not an easy task.

Through the application of rules for living together at home , positive coexistence and understanding is guaranteed, as well as respect among all family members is encouraged. Below, we explain how to create and apply these rules.

Why is it necessary to apply rules for living at home?

Within the family dynamics it is necessary to apply a series of rules of coexistence that facilitate coexistence and favour harmony and concord.

This development and application of a series of rules, which include both the rights and duties of those living under the same roof, is essential regardless of the number of inhabitants of the house; it is necessary for both couples without children and families of any type or number.

In the cases of families with children it will help to establish limits to the behaviour of the youngest or smallest ones . In this way it will be possible to predict and control those situations that may generate a conflict.

However, the aim of applying rules and duties at home is not only to ensure that children comply with a number of obligations. It is necessary for parents to understand that for their children to comply with the rules they must also encourage them ; being the first to comply with them and recognize their efforts.

In the long term, having grown up in a regulated context, which provides them with a series of duties, will develop the children’s sense of responsibility. This will help them in their future adult life. However, flexibility is key so that this context does not become a burden for the children.

How to create and apply rules at home?

To implement the application of the rules of coexistence, please note the following.

Creating rules for living together

The first step in creating a regulated environment is to establish what rules or guidelines should be followed at home, both generally and individually. The reason for this is logical, no one can be required to follow rules they do not know . Likewise, you cannot try to regulate a child’s behaviour if you have not pre-established what is acceptable at home and what is not.

In this first step, the parents are responsible for creating a set of rules for the household . A good idea if the children already have the capacity to understand is to create the rules among all of them, reaching a consensus, since this way the commitment will be much greater.

Although each family can set the rules according to their own criteria and family values, these rules must meet a series of characteristics that make them much more effective:

  • They must be impartial.
  • They should be clear and easily interpretable .
  • In the individual rules, these should correspond to the level of maturity of each member.
  • All family members must be informed.
  • Must be enforceable and accepted by all .
  • They can include a conditioning.

Establishing consequences

Just as important as creating the rules of coexistence is establishing or determining what will happen when they are met or not.

In this way, the effects may be positive in the case of the rules being followed or negative in those cases where they are not carried out. It is important to know, that positive consequences will always have a much more seductive effect and be more effective than punishments.

The main characteristic that these consequences must have is that they must be immediate. Thus, both the punishments and the rewards should be applied as soon as possible after the conduct has been carried out, or not. In this way, the relationship between action and consequence will be stronger and the behaviour will be quickly automated.

On the other hand, the second characteristic to take into account is that the seriousness or impact of these consequences must correspond to the importance of the rule. In other words, the consequences, both positive and negative, must be proportionate to the acts.

The role of parents in enforcement

Those parents who feel the need to apply rules of coexistence at home should know that their role is not limited to being police officers who keep by the rules, but also, must guide and encourage the appropriate behaviors of their children or other members of the family unit.

While this may seem logical, it is not true in all cases. It is therefore necessary for parents to know that they too must respect the rules, since they are their children’s first point of reference. And that in the case of not doing so, this could lead to a great deal of conflict with the rest of the family .

Advice on implementing rules for living together

Here are some specific tips or advice to make creating and applying rules at home much easier and more manageable for both parents and children.

1. Dialogue

It is necessary that there is a dialogue that allows the socialization of the rules . Through these conversations all the members of the household will be able to understand why they are important.

This dialogue will also allow the youngest to express their views and facilitate respect for the rules by all.

2. Rules to facilitate coexistence

In order for everyone to respect the rules of coexistence these must have a clear and simple aim : to improve family life. They must therefore be explained in a way that is consistent with this aim.

3. Benefits for all

Regardless of their content, the rules established must benefit all family members equally . In other words, they must be equal and offer the same benefits and obligations to all.

4. Preaching by example

In many contexts children learn by imitation, therefore, the example of parents is essential for them to internalize the behaviors that parents wish to see in them.

5. Flexibility

Although one of the aims of the rules is to make them happen, it is counterproductive to obsess over them. Both parents and children should present a certain degree of flexibility , in this way coexistence will be much more satisfactory and compliance with the rules will not become a burden.