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There are many different forms of rules that we will encounter in our life. Some of those rules will provide us with guidelines on what we can or cannot do, while others work as more of a code of values.

For this article, we will focus on the rules that lean towards values. As parents, it is our job to be good role models for our children. We are the ones who ensure that they are focused on the right things in life. This isn’t to say that we should tell our children what to believe, but within our family unit, we can create rules and values that help encourage our children down the right path.

In my home, we focus on 12 core family rules.

1. Don’t disrespect each other.

No matter how angry we get, our goal is to treat each other with respect. During times of anger, it’s okay to let those feelings be known, but there is a right and a wrong way to do so.

2. Always apologize when you are wrong.

It can be hard to stow your ego away and say, “Look, I know I was wrong. I am so sorry.” But, it’s important to take responsibility for how you feel and what you say and do. This is a major rule in our home.

3. Family comes first.

I have always felt like family was extremely important. It’s so easy to get caught up in life and end up distracted, but at the end of the day, family is supposed to love and uphold one another. Because of this, we have a major emphasis on family in our household.

4. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (the golden rule.)

This is something that my mother always said to me and my siblings, and it was a major family rule growing up. While I think it may come from the bible you do not have to be religious to understand the value of the phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Put simply, this phrase means to treat people the way you want to be treated.

5. Listen when others are speaking to you.

There is nothing more disrespectful than when someone is talking to you, and you are either playing on your phone or staring up in space. In our home, we place a lot of importance on listening with your attention. Of course, everyone has their bad days, no one is perfect. But this is important.

6. Stand up for your beliefs (respectfully.)

No one is going to always see eye to eye with you. That is just the way that it is. And when something is said or done that is disrespectful to your beliefs, it’s okay to stand up and say so. The important thing though is to be respectful.

7. When you decide to do something, do it to the best of your ability.

If you are going to do something, do it to the best of your ability. No one is perfect, but at least give it your best try. If you make this a family rule and stand by it for yourself as well, you will notice a lot of positive changes in your life.

8. If you notice something should be done, do it.

Sometimes, a few of the family members in the house may be busy or overwhelmed with another situation in their life. If you notice chores that need to be done that aren’t necessarily your chores, do them anyways. This rule will ensure that things won’t get too behind in your home, and it’s also just a good mindset to have, instead of “That’s not my job.”

9. Do good things for others without expecting anything back.

A lot of times in life, people do nice things for others because they expect favors or accolades in return. When, in reality, the whole point of doing something good for someone else is because it’s on your heart to do something for another. If you are doing it for what you hope to receive, you are doing it for the wrong reasons.

10. Family meals are important.

It may seem unimportant to share a meal, but family meals are so much more than stuffing your face. They are a time to spend quality time together and to touch base with one another. They are a time to share stories and to listen to each other vent or catch the others up on what is going on in their life. And it’s a time for grounding.

11. Always be kind.

Always, always be kind. Even when you don’t feel good, be kind. If kindness is a commitment, you will never have the opportunity to debate it with yourself.

12. Clean up after yourself.

If you make a mess, clean it up. If everyone does this, there is so much less cleaning to do. And additionally, it enforces the belief in personal responsibility.