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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Kaylee Chord

I disagree with only two of them...the swearing one and the talking back one. I think kids can approach situations on talking back as a discussion, asking to talk about a situation they disagree with, but I don't think it is okay for a child to "challenge" a parent in any circumstance, unless there is a harmful situation of course. There is a huge difference in teaching them to think through something they disagree with, gather their thoughts, and present their 'case' to their parents...that teaches them so much more on how to handle situations in real life. I also think it is totally inappropriate for children to use profanity. I have told my teen that I don't want to hear it and would be very disappointed if I did. When he is with friends I cannot control it, but he has to learn what he is comfortable with and make those choices on his own...however, in my house, under my roof, it is completely and totally unacceptable...period. I agree with breaking rules, but I think these two have a lot to do with respect for parents.

handy... handy0318

You know, I'm actually OK with #8...'smatter of fact that's the rule... they can go to their rooms if they are going to use language like that and then come out when they're ready to be respectful again.  They're learning that the language isn't acceptable and yet still getting it out of their system... works for us anyway.

The rest of the rules, yep, we have 'em and we bend 'em just like Evans does.  Even the whole school thing, and we home-school!  But, sometimes it's good just to take an unscheduled break... One of my best memories from childhood is my mom unexpectedly picking us up early from school one Friday morning and whisking us off to the lake for an impromptu family reunion with my cousins... That happened 45 years ago and I can still remember every detail.  We remained good students and I went on to college and have held respectable careers even though there were times school was placed on a temporary back burner.


Janise Barrett

I probably broke every rule in the 'book'. However I chose my battles wisely, in fact I had very few rules. Moreso what I had were guidelines and an idea I wanted to foster; treat her as I wanted to be treated, right all the past wrongs and freely give her what she needs without condition. I focused on 3 core values: honesty, empathy and modesty. It worked but to be fair, I only had 1 and I was single by choice so she was my main focus aside from work.

Leslie Lyons

Knowing When To Break The Rules For An Even Better Outcome Is More Art Than Science- but remembering to think about it is 1/2 the way there.

Mary Wysong

I love number seven. I grew up with one of those religious parents who felt kids should NOT have any say. If I "talked back" I was beaten, so I grew up realizing that no one really cared about my feelings or opinions. Sadly, most of the things I wanted to say were pretty reasonable. It wasn't like I was getting into trouble or anything because I was a complete goody-two-shoes. I was concerned because my mom had serious issues and wasn't paying the bills or meeting her responsibilities. I pledged as a child that when I had kids, I was going to listen. They might not always get what they want, but I will hear them and let them express themselves.

Hurri... HurricaneTalia

YES! I now officially adore you. This country lives in what I like to call "Perfect Sanctimommy Land" where you must dedicate your entire life to your child and raise them perfectly. I call bullshit. This is the best list i've read in a long time. It's OKAY to put yourself and your marriage first, it's OKAY to let them be outspoken, unique, and different. It's okay to let them explore limits and to be open and honest with them. Sheltering your kids does nothing but make it harder on them when they enter the real world. This is amazing and you are amazing for finally speaking the truth about the way things SHOULD be done.you rock

LadyM... LadyMinni

My poor kids are both probably going to have cuss words as their first words. I'll never be able to stop; cussing is my vice. But my kids are also going to learn that there is a time and a place and that if they use explatives inappropriatly then they will get in trouble.

My kids will not be allowed to talk back to me or their father."Because I said so" is probably one of the worst things a parent can say, but there is a difference in talking back and asking for a reason. That's fine. But if I tell my kids to clean their room and they argue, it's one warning and then to the naughty spot.

We will always set good examples, to do otherwise is foolish.

Bedtimes are a must, during the school year.

My kids are going to be homeschooled, so attendance will happen regardless.

nonmember avatar westcoastgal

I would add that you should encourage your children to be in touch with their feelings. Validate the respectful expression of how they feel. My youngster has a chronic physical condition that causes discomfort and disruption to a daily routine. He handles it well but once in a while voices that he "hates it" etc. I agree that it sucks, acknowledge his feelings, give a hug and get on with dealing with it.

Stephanie Kaster

I agree with all of them except the last one. I let them know when they are wrong, but in a manner that also shows them I am always in their corner. A child needs to know they've always got someone to back them and be there for them, especially during the hard times. Right or wrong, they need to know I'll always be there and will help them through it all.

Erika... ErikaRobin

Too many people will read this and abuse every one of your suggestions, sadly.

Can you tell me the benefit of having a skip day, please?  I fail to see what good that teaches.

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