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Email of the Day: Our Kids Had Only Two Rules To Follow

By Dr. Laura on June, 27 2022
Email of the Day: Our Kids Had Only Two Rules To Follow

I have three young adult children who are all responsible, respectable, contributing citizens. While far from being the ideal parents, my husband and I did our best. We take pride in our handful of genius parenting moves, which were apparently weighty enough to override our parenting mistakes, one of which I want to share with you and your listeners.


I know that kids need structure, so when they were young, we started to make a list of rules for them to follow. I thought the list was too long and overwhelming for them. More importantly, as long as the list was, I was certain it didn’t cover everything and those loopholes would come back to bite us. So, we pared them down to two rules, one positive, and one negative:


1. DO your job

2. DON’T hurt anyone


This simple framework gave us a finite and manageable set of decision rules or questions. “Do your job” let us teach them that jobs have many parts and that as you grow, your responsibilities grow. “Don’t hurt anyone” covered how you treat people physically, emotionally and with respect to their property. The framework enabled the kids to think through and decide for themselves whether their action fit these two rules. It also sparked thoughtful conversation, helped us guide them, rather than bark orders at them, and gave them a way to judge their peers’ behavior. Best of all, there were no loopholes! Twenty-five years later, I have yet to find something that isn’t covered by one or the other of these rules!



Our Kids Had Only Two Rules To Follow



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