Itís summer: time to break the rules


        Summertime and the liviní is easy. The kids are out of school. Their countdown to vacation is replaced by the parentsí countdown to Labor Day.

        Maybe the rules of behavior in your family have not changed during the summer and maybe things have loosened up a bit. The kids are tired of rules and the parents are tired of enforcing them. Here are two legitimate ways you can institute for breaking the rules.

Bad Manners Night

        Designate one night a week (or one a month) as Bad Manners Night. It is a sanctioned time when everyone is allowed to wipe mouths on their sleeves, burp, reach across the table for the food they want, and ask for things by saying, "Gimme the ketchup."

        An event such as this will stand in stark contrast to all the other meals when you expect that the children will follow the examples of good manners that you have been trying to teach.

        At any other time, when the kids show poor manners, all you need do is remind them to "save it for bad manners night."

Yes Day

        Do you get tired of saying "no" ? How about reserving a day on a regular basis when your previous "no" answers are transformed to "yes" ?

        You set the ground rules first. More than likely you will want to talk about safety, health, time expenditure, and affordability. If you have to say no for one of these reasons, the answer remains no.

        Set the day for a week or so away. One of the kids asks, "Can we make a chocolate cake for dessert?" You explain that you canít do it that day, but you can put the request in the Yes Day Box. All such requests are written on pieces of paper and then put into the box.

        Then, on the designated Yes Day, everyone sits around, pull out pieces of paper, and each request is greeted with an enthusiastic "yes." In succession, each "no" is turned into a "yes" and the entire family enjoys their play with each other.

        Have fun together!

This column has been incorporated and expanded in Teach Your Children Well: A Teacherís  Advice for Parents.

All columns are copyright © Jay Davidson.  Permission is hereby granted for individuals to download and copy them for individual use.  There is a modest charge for printing these columns in any publication.  To receive that permission, contact   Jay Davidson