I'd like to think that we're not huge on rules in our house, but rather that the rules we do have are sort of all encompassing and they are non-negotiable.
1. No sassing
This isn't to say that Eva can't voice her opinion or ask questions about what we say (always question authority- viva la resistance!), but she is not allowed to say it in a snotty voice. We're pretty good about this too; so often it'd be easier to just ignore her when she mouths off or mumbles under her breath but then what does that teach her? That it's okay. And then the next time it's harder to stop her from doing it. So we just nip it in the bud from the get go and so far it's working well. Stay tuned for when she's a pre-teen...
2. No screaming
This might seem like a no brainer but you'd be wrong. I hear preschoolers shriek/scream/wail all.the.time. No way Jose, we don't do voices above a 60 decibel inside our house.
3. No hitting
Again, seems like a no-brainer but this one is actually for everyone, not just Eva. We don't spank in our house. That's not to say we wouldn't love to every now and then when Eva may be trying to engage in #1 or #2 listed above, but studies consistently show that physical punishment is ineffective in producing positive behavioral outcomes in children. Hitting a child does nothing but teach them that 1) hitting is okay and 2) that they cannot count on their parents for physical safety. To a toddler/preschooler, the one person in the world who is supposed to be your safety net is your parent; if the person you rely on for your sense of safety hits you, it causes horrible damage to your psyche. To put it in a cheesy, yet true, way hands are for hugs, not hitting.
If you don't spank your child(ren)- you already know where I'm coming from. If you do, I urge you to pause the next time you feel like it and ask yourself if you're doing it because you truly think hitting will benefit the child in some way, or because you're so angry that you feel like hitting... one is about the child, the other is about you.
Aaaaand that's about it. We don't have a clean your plate rule or a no shoes in the bedroom rule... or even a steadfast bedtime rule. We're pretty go with the flow- this has both its pros and cons- but overall I think life is pretty enjoyable in our house.
Wait, I forgot, we do have a NO jumping on the bed rule. Don't ask me why, since it's probably the most fun thing for a 4 year old to do... I think it's a hold over my from childhood where my mom was so worried that we'd fall and break something that jumping on any bed was a huge no no. So I lied, we're not as cool and laid back as I'd like to be but hey, "There is no way to be a perfect mother, and a million ways to be a good one."