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House Rules are House Rules

Last Friday my college daughter came home for her Fall Break. During her four-day stay, she stepped back into the role of mommy again to her two-year-old son Jarod--giving me a much needed break. She also went to work at her Burger King job. Burger King keeps her as an active employee and welcomes her back anytime she comes home for an extended period.

THANK YOU BURGER KING!

But also during the course of her stay, my daughter got the idea that the same rules that applied when she was living under my roof were now null and void. For her, that meant didn't have to adhere to a curfew. After all, she's a college student--living away from home and can stay out as long as she wants. As she told me, "I can stay out all night if I want."

Funny, I told my mother that same thing when I was in college--and guess what? I told my daughter the SAME thing my mother told me: "As long as you are technically still under my roof, you're going to have to live by the house rules. That means you will be home by a certain time." (Instead of the 11pm curfew, I did extend it to 1am).

I did let her know there was an escape clause.

"You can take over the mortgage and the other bills and have free reign. No problem!"

Comments

Eileen Williams said…
Beverly,

It sounds like you are one great mom! You're caring, responsible, and you set rules. I'm sure your daughter and your grandson are all the richer for having you such a major part of their lives.
Beverly said…
Eileen,

No--quite the contrary. My daughter and I are just coming to terms in our relationship. I am always accused of being "too old-fashioned" and "out of touch." But I really don't know how to be any other way. It's the way I was raised--and I figure, if I didn't turn out so bad maybe there was a method to my mother's madness!

Thanks for stopping by.
PopArtDiva said…
Beverly - I'm with you. Discipline and rules are not old fashioned, they are the foundation of raising a child.

Maybe some of the things our mother's taught us are out of date but I don't believe that loving your child enough to give them limits, discipline and rules is one of those things!

I loved your escape clause too!
Vicki M. Taylor said…
Oh, Beverly, I so, know what you're going through. I've had the go away/come back blues hit me too. And, you're right, you have to maintain the "under my roof, abide my rules".

I'm tickled that you had the wherewithall to tell your daughter to take over the mortgage and bills and she could do what she wanted. I've used that tone with my kids as well.

Aren't we all alike in most ways? Parents and kids? They just think they're the first one's to ever gone through it.

Thanks for being there for your daughter and grandson.
Beverly said…
PopArtDiva--

I have to tell you I didn't like my mother's rules at all--and she was much stricter on me than I am on my own daughter. One of the things I vowed before becoming a mom was not to be as hard on my daughter as my mom was on me but I do believe all children need discipline. "Spare the rod--spoil the child."
Pam Archer said…
I remember the days when my girls would come home from college on the weekend, or for the summer. I would tell them that home wasn't a dorm, and they had to clean up their rooms. They didn't like it, but they did it.

In some ways, the college days are the hardest years. They are adults, but not quite ready to fly the nest.

House rules are for everyone to follow..stick to them!
My sentiments exactly. We have 5 children who all think that the rules in our home stink. My answer is the same as yours. When you pay the mortgage on this house, you can make the rules; but until then you live by our rules when you are staying here. I think of it as not raising children; but that we are raising adults. Hopefully they will learn, and apply this to their homes and family one day. Great post Beverly and my prayers are with you!
I went through this when my oldest son came home after being away at college for 7 months. He thought his girlfriend was going to spend the night with him in his room! NOT!!! I nipped that one in the bud quick! He is now out in society and doing quite well, so I think rules do shape them as they move on to adulthood.
My baby (sniff sniff) will be 18 in December and is a senior in high school. We struggle with the curfew, but he is very good at "checking in".
Beverly, I feel your pain! Stick to your guns!
Melodieann said…
Hang in there Bev! Wait for the day you hear her say to her own children those exact same words. You'll know then that she heard and appreciated them - even if she was too "cool" and grown-up to admit it. My daughter always swore her kids wouldn't have to live by all the rules she did. Well, guess what. They have all those rules and more. As she said to me one day - she looks where she is now and where a lot of her friends are and thanks God that I was as strict with her as I was. Stand your ground, Bev. It's worth it in the end.
Heidi Caswell said…
I had to set rules for the college kids when home for school breaks, summer. As the younger siblings see rules being enforced, it gets easier as the next one hits that phase.

Cell phones help, to stay in touch. I don't require my college kids to tell me each place they go with friends, or ask permission. But I do want them back by a certain time or expect a phone call with a good reason.

One son was not back by curfew. I called his phone, no answer, called girlfriend's house no answer. So I drove to his girlfriend's house, checking roadside along the way. They were out talking, he left his phone in his car.

Quite surprised to see me. I explained how I had no way to know if he was in an accident, unable to call, etc. Did not want to call police, hospitals looking for him, which would have been the next step. He now calls if not back in time.

Another came back his first break from college, dropped a pile of dirty dishes and another pile of dirty laundry on my living room, says bye, going to visit his girlfriend, without so much as a hug.

I made him come back, take care of the dishes, laundry first. Hugged him anyway. He never brought back dirty dishes again, and laundry in the wash became the first thing to do before running off to his girlfriend's. (now his wife).

One son I charged room and board for a few months. He was working, saving for college, but his savings disappeared, all spent on girlfriend, things she and her mother said they needed, and with his big heart he gave it all away.

I explained how they should be able to support themselves, they were before he came along. That he needed to finish college, that putting himself to where he was making a good living should come before buying non-essentials for a girlfriend and her mom. He did not get it. "But she says they need the money."

My new rule, if you are over 18 and living home, you must be saving for college, your own place, etc. or pay your share. I showed him household expenses (house payment, utilities, food) and divided them up among the number in the house, and told him he could either save his money or pay his share. He opted to pay his share.

Down the road, after getting married, they were both like why did we not work at getting him through college? look how much he'd be making now with the degree. Yet it was their choice to splurge the money earlier.

Today he is making good money working full-time and going to school full-time, working on his masters. He will make it, but the hours are very, very long.

Parents should not step in and take away the consequences for actions. I could not believe a young man (friend of my boys) who totaled two cars for drinking and driving. Have no idea why he still had his license. Yet his parent's solution was to buy him a big SUV so he would have more protection if in another accident.

Me, after that first offense, he would not be driving for a very long time, you don't go out an buy another vehicle.
Beverly said…
Heidi,

Thanks for sharing your experiences. I don't know if I could've survived with more than one child--but you did it with seven and you are to be admired for setting your own House Rules.

One thing I've learned is kids will test you to see how far they can go and play one parent against another in order to manipulate the situation. If you don't have rules, you'll go crazy and the kids will never learn responsibility.
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