Some of the tension and arguing of enforcing rules (at home) can be reduced by allowing your children to contribute in the process of setting rules and assigning consequences before the rules are broken. We will refer to this arrangement as, “Collaborative Parenting.”
When parents include their children in establishing clear rules about appropriate behavior and consequences, the arguments over rules and punishments are often reduced (and sometimes eliminated). Children can no longer say that consequences are unfair, and parents can now calmly refer to the pre-arranged agreement instead of having to scramble to find an appropriate punishment.
Please keep in kind that allowing your children to have input regarding rules and consequences may not dissuade them from breaking them sometimes, but it can help parents to avoid a power struggle dynamic that exists in many families. Parents who expect that their child will sometimes act out inappropriately, but prepare for it by involving their children in the formulation of rules and consequences, will improve family communication and give their children a powerful sense of responsibility and autonomy.
Dr. Scott Koenig, Psy.D.