10 Parenting Rules All Moms Should Break

Mom Moment 32

ice cream sundaeWhen it comes to parenting, many of us often lament how we wish the job came with a rule book. Wouldn't it be nice if all you had to do was follow a set of rules, and you'd automatically produce nice, loving, productive members of society?

Unfortunately the gig isn't quite that simple. Sure, there are "rules" that are just understood, or passed down from generation to generation as to what "good parents" are supposed to do. But even those aren't right in every situation, and as the saying goes, "rules are meant to be broken." Here are 10 parenting rules every mom should break at some point.

1. Always set a good example

It's okay for you to make mistakes, and it's, in fact, helpful for kids to see that you do. They learn it's okay not to be perfect.

2. Kids need their sleep

Sleep is important, but some random late night snacks or midnight dances in the moonlight on occasion will forever be memories.

3. More than 30 minutes of television a day will rot their brains

Not every day, but sometimes on a cold, rainy day, there's nothing wrong with snuggling up on the couch and vegging for hours in front of the TV.

More from The Stir: 5 Times I'll Parent Your Kid My Way

4. Your children's needs should always come first

A hard one for most moms, but it's really okay once in awhile that you don't want to play Candy Land for the bazillionth time because you just need to relax and collect your thoughts for a few minutes.

5. School attendance is a must

Again, not regularly, but every once in awhile, keeping them home or signing them out early to spend a carefree day with you can be just what you both need in the midst of a busy year.

6. Don't give them junk food

If most of their diet is healthy, every once in awhile, a big ice cream splurge or fast food meal isn't going to kill them. It can also help them from feeling so deprived and binging on all of the bad stuff when they're able.

7. Don't let them talk back to you

They need to learn to do so in a polite way, but they shouldn't just have to accept what you say at face value. You want them to challenge and think for themselves, and if you're always throwing "because I said so!" at them, that's not nurturing those skills.

8. Potty mouths aren't allowed

If you have open and honest discussions with them about such "bad" words, they'll become less alluring. Let them know there's a time and a place for such words, and if they want to go scream them in the bedroom, then they can (as long as grandma isn't visiting).

9. Don't compare them to other children

Not in a bragging, obnoxious way, or to make them feel inferior to their friends, but I find it incredibly helpful to talk to other moms with children the same ages as mine and discuss various developmental and emotional issues they're going through. It helps me know where my kids are in relation to others and sometimes gives me ideas on what we need to work on.

10. Always be their biggest cheerleader

They're not always going to be right, plain and simple, and to take your kid's side just because it's your kid doesn't teach them anything. Telling them when they're wrong and when you're disappointed with them is okay. Also, everything they do doesn't have to be the most amazing, special thing ever.

What parenting rules do you break?


Image via TheCulinaryGeek/Flickr

discipline, behavior


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nonmember avatar Tracy

We've taught our 14 year old stepson that while swearing isn't the coolest thing in the world, if a word slips out, apologize. If he truly needs to use a swear word, it is never, ever to be directed personally to anyone. It's one thing to say my day was sh*tty, and another to say you're a sh*tty person. And, well, when it isn't aimed at a person, a lot of the sting is taken out of the word. He rarely, if ever, swears (at least in our earshot).

RMT1995 RMT1995

For me, they're just words. If my daughter makes a comment about Dad using a "bad word" and I ask her which one, she knows it's ok to tell me he said "shit" or something. She's not to use it in a mean, insulting or upset way, but she can say it if she's relaying informaiton. It's a WORD. The appeal of kids swearing is because it's taboo - you're not supposed to say this, that, or the other word ... our approach is that WE use these words in the appropriate setting, so I'd rather teach her that than say "No, never ever say this!", which is unrealistic and not a big deal when she's older.

All the others, I'm proud to say, I break and feel good about breaking. The hardest one for ME is the "being your child's cheerleader". Not because I can't side with another child, but because my daughter is a genuinely good kid. She has a lot of adults (not just us) around who are influential in her becoming a genuinely good preteen as well. Very proud and hard not to be her biggest cheerleader :)

Felip... FelipesMom

I totally disagree with #4. What you need to do is make sure what you do is working for EVERYONE. Place the ooxygen mask over your own face first, then assist any children traveling with you, as one example. 

BUT the rest are rules that should not EVER be hard and fast anyway! The most important life rul for anyone is:



tjmommie tjmommie

i broke a parenting rule that i was raised on....DO NOT PLAY IN THE RAIN. WHEN OUR OLDEST 2 KIDS WERE BOTH 11 YEARS OLD i took them outside and we all played in the rain and it was the best day ever!!! they are both 31 years old now!!happy

Tammy Marzolf

tj - we always played in the rain, as long as there was no thunder.  My mom was cool that way.  Once my son was going thru a hating bath, showers phase.  It poured one afternoon, and I had him put on his swim suit.  We then proceeded to "shower" outside.  He had so much fun, and got cleanish!

10ldm0m 10ldm0m

My children get 4 mommyitis days s year. As they get older they stop taking all four. Too much homework in high school. We also have the 'circle of truth' once a month. They can bring up problems they have with mom and dad. No one is allowed to raise their voices and no one is allowed to get mad. It helps us out to be better parents and the kids see our point to why we said what did.

Shana Kelly

lol.  I break them all:)

@TammyMarzolf - each of my kids adopted a nasty word as well.... we also allow "at-home" words aslong as they are not disrespecting anyone, and used in the proper context.

Mama2... Mama2MonkeyBoys

1. Actually, this is very important. Yes, sometimes you make mistakes, but you are setting an EXAMPLE for your children with the way you handle those mistakes.

2. This is true. If you let them stay up late, it needs to be on a night where they don't have to be up early the next morning. So, you're not breaking the rule at all.

3.  I think the 30 minutes is a bit silly, but I also think going to the extreme and just vegging out all day is lazy. There are LOTS of fun activities you can do on a rainy day to couple with watching a movie or two. And, if you don't try to keep them at least somewhat active, they will have a hard time sleeping that night. 

4.  This I disagree with. There is a heirarchy in the family, and it's important for children to understand that. They need to know that, yes, you are there for them and attentive to their needs, but you are not necessarily going to stop what you're doing (reading the newspaper, cleaning the kitchen, etc) to cater to them, and they need to respect that.

5.  It is a must. It's how you teach them about personal responsibility and work ethic. The only reason to take your kids out of school is if they're sick or have other, relevant, appointments. This is when you teach your kids how the world works, and those fun days - well, that's what weekends are for.


Mama2... Mama2MonkeyBoys

6. Well, nobody needs junk food. But, ice cream or chips every so often won't kill them. However, too many parents see this as a rule they can break - and then they get lazy and break it all the time. Welcome to the world of childhood obesity.

7. There's a difference between your child disagreeing with you and talking back to you. There is, once again, a heirarchy in families, and - for lack of better terminology - children need to know their place in that heirarchy. If it's ok to talk back to you, then it's fine for them to talk back to teachers and other grown ups - right? Nope. It's about respect - and it can be taught by speaking respectfully (albeit firmly) to them and NOT allowing them to speak to you in a disrespectful manner.

8. Why would you break this rule? There is no reason for your children to be swearing at any time. Teach them how to communicate their feelings with appropriate words. Yes, at some point, they're going to pick up that language - it's about teaching them why we don't say those words rather than just saying "OMG NO DON'T SAY THAT!!!!"


Mama2... Mama2MonkeyBoys

9. You shouldn't compare your child to other children. Your child is unique. Just because your 6 year old was reading in three different languages by the time they were 2, doesn't mean your next child will. Susie down the street might be riding a bike by 3, and your 6 year old can barely pedal a tricycle. So what? Each child is an individual and will develop at their own pace. Your job is to consistently work with them as they do, and not be judgmental about how quickly or slowly they are "getting" things.

10. This in no way means "Agree with them about everything." It means to support them when they want to try new things, to encourage them to do their best, and to show them how proud you are when they are doing their best. Even if you know your child will never be the next Picasso, you should still encourage them in their art classes. And so on.

A lot of your "rule breaking" basically amounts to you wanting to be your child's friend, rather than their PARENT. That, I believe, is the biggest problem we are having with kids right now. Nobody wants to be the bad guy - well, guess what, that's your WHOLE DAMNED JOB. And that's how you manage to raise responsible, caring, thoughtful adults.

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