Home sweet home … Isn’t that the feeling we all want when we come home?
The past two posts have been about having a “safe at home” rule, or a “home sweet home” rule. In the second of these posts, I asked for suggestions about how to begin and enforce the “safe at home” rule. I wanted to get feedback since a subscriber posed this question. (For those interested in reading the two posts leading up to this one, the links are provided below.)
The question posed was: “How would you suggest beginning and enforcing the ‘safe at home’ rule?”
Here are suggestions from our community…
I feel I must practice the safe at home rule first. For now, I am trying to make it my personal rule that once I am home, I do not bring the woes from outside into our home. I feel I have to be consistent before I can ask my children and husband to join me.
Well said! It’s hard to follow a rule when the person who wants the rule and is supposed to enforce it can’t even do it him/herself! Seriously, haven’t we all experienced the double standard, where a rule is unfairly applied in different ways to different people? It probably is a good idea to apply the rule ourselves first. That is, make the ‘safe at home’ rule your habit before asking everyone else to join you.
As explained by one of our subscribers:
If it’s a rule, then the goal is to apply all the time. I know in teaching some teachers say, for example, raise your hand to speak as one of their classroom rules, but that teacher wants the student to speak if he or she calls on them, too! If it’s not an all the time rule, then it’s an expectation relative to certain situations. Once I realized the difference between a rule and an expectation, I was better at following the rules!
So true! It’s easier to follow a rule if the expectation is all the time! This same subscriber goes on to say, “I think the ‘safe at home’ rule meets the criteria of always and not sometimes, which makes it easier for me to try and follow it!”
Another mom shared a story about how she tried to start the rule at her home (with two teenagers!)
I came home the other day and I was so irritated by something that happened at work. I just wanted to be left alone. My son (age 14) came in and said, “Mom?” My first thought was, “No, I can’t do anything for you!” Then the safe at home rule popped into my mind. Instead, I said, “Yes, I’m here what do you want?”
I’m glad I didn’t go with my first instinct and just shout, “What!” because my son said, “Nothing, just wondering where you were!”
Just that interaction made me realize how the rule may be hardest on me! The next day I decided to bring up the rule at dinner. I told my family about how I heard about a safe at home rule. I explained how it’s a house rule about how we talk to one another. We are supposed to be careful not to take things out on one another. Instead, we are to help each other.
At first, I got a bunch of blank stares, so I decided to bring up what happened the day before. “I’ve been wanting to talk with you about this rule, and I didn’t know how to bring it up. But then yesterday I had a bad day at work. I was tired and irritated. I was in a bad mood. (Name) came home and the only thing he said was “Mom?” and honestly my first reaction was “What now? What does he want from me now?” I thought about the rule, and instead asked him kindly what he wanted.
The safe at home rule made me rethink how to talk to all of you, and I’m bringing it up because I hope it will help all of us think about how we speak to each other here at home. I want us all to try and remember to be kind and help each other. Does that make sense?
From the rest of her story, it sounds like it turned into a really good family conversation.
Another note we received was from a mom wanting to instill the rule, and she added, “I actually went out and bought a ‘Home Sweet Home’ sign to place by our front door so whenever we walk in, it will be our reminder!” She also bought a personal reminder to place in her car so she would think about this as she pulled into the driveway.
Finally, one of our subscribers commented:
I love this rule. We have so much going on in our lives outside of the home, and there are so many things that often frustrate us, make us angry, make us sad, maybe even make us feel hateful. We must be aware of how those feelings have an affect on us and how they affect the youth in our lives!
Personally, I have noticed that if I am feeling upset or frustrated about something going on in my life outside of the home, this is when my child and I have a hard time communicating with one another. On days like this it is easy to just chalk it up to “a terrible day.”
But I realized our miscommunication is probably because I am the one not communicating well in the first place, and she is just picking up on what I’m putting out there! I’m the adult; I should know better!
To me, safe at home means we walk through a “love filter” when we walk through the door of our home; that is, we treat everyone inside of the home with love first, not with whatever negativity we encountered that day. Who knows, maybe if you get good enough at walking through the love filter INTO your home, you can walk through it when you go OUT of your home, too!
Well said! Changing our habits takes time and practice.
I hope these suggestions help anyone interested in beginning and enforcing the safe at home rule! I want to thank all subscribers for sharing ideas to establish a safe at home, or home sweet home rule!
Keep in mind if there are any other ideas you wish to get feedback, please send them our way. Also, if you want to continue the conversation about the safe at home rule, send them also! We are in this together. We all want to find ways to t.e.l.l. our children better!
Prayers for you, and your family, to feel safe and sound at home…
The last post about having a ‘safe at home’ rule caused some subscribers to reflect and send us questions and comments. For those who didn’t read the post, this rule is that no matter what negative things are happening outside the home, family members agree not to take it out on each other. At home, family members try and help one another with challenges. The family supports one another and helps each other handle the stress going on outside the home. As the mom who introduced the idea said, “We do not use each another as punching bags for what is happening outside the home.” Click here if you would like to read the whole post.
Some subscribers simply commented along the lines of, “I really like this!”
Another subscriber questioned, “How would you begin and enforce this rule?”
A few ideas come to mind, but I’m curious to hear from other subscribers. I’ll let you know what we hear in the next post. (I look forward to the day we can continue these conversations right here with the post!)
How would you introduce the safe at home rule? (OK, teachers, I know you can give some ideas about introducing rules!)
Stay tuned. Remember to enjoy the children in your life … t.e.l.l. them!
The last couple of posts centered on a Tell Gathering meeting where a group of adults came together to talk about a response for when a child talks to us inappropriately. It was a two-part post, and then we shared some thoughts from a subscriber. If you’d like to read these, click here for Part 1 or here here for Part 2.
I wanted to share another idea with you that was discussed at length during this particular TELL Gathering meeting. A mom brought up having a “safe at home” family rule. “At home, we try and help one another with challenges. We support one another, we do not use one another as punching bags for what is happening outside the home,” the mom explained. In other words, once home, you are safe and sound!
We all liked the “safe at home” family rule. We talked about how important it was for the parents to model and reinforce the rule if we ever wanted it as a family rule. It’s one thing to say this is the family rule; it’s another to model it and reinforce it.
The mom who brought up the “safe home” rule gave us an example of when her daughter came home from school one day speaking harshly to her and everyone else in the home. She kindly said to her daughter, “Young lady, you will not talk to me or anyone in this house like that. If you’re upset about something that happened at school today, let’s talk about it. Let’s figure it out. I’m here to help you any way I can.”
The daughter huffed to her room. Mom showed up 10 to 15 minutes later. “What happened today to get you in such a bad mood?” They talked it over, and mom ended the conversation by reinforcing the family rule: “Remember, home is where we help each other. We do not take out on each other what other people are doing to us.” Before ending the conversation, she added, “It’s not easy, I know. I struggle too when I’ve had a hard day at work. We need to keep reminding each other that we are here to help, not hurt. I hope you will remind me if you feel I am taking something out on you or your brothers.”
Have you ever considered having a “safe at home” family rule? I am going to change our family rule to “Home is where we t.e.l.l. one another – home is where we teach, encourage, listen, and love one another.” What do you think?
I am curious to hear your thoughts. Drop me a line, let me know!