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Family House Rules for Older Children

by
author image Debby Mayne
Debby Mayne started writing professionally in 1992. Her work has appeared in regional parenting magazines and she has been managing editor of the magazine, "Coping with Cancer." She was also fashion product information writer for HSN. During college, Mayne worked as an instructor at a fitness center. She holds a Bachelor of Science in health, PE and recreation from the University of Southern Mississippi.
Family House Rules for Older Children
A smiling family sitting together on the stairs. Photo Credit David Sacks/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Overview

All families need house rules to make living under one roof bearable and as pleasant as possible for everyone. Although perfect harmony all the time isn't likely, setting a few rules and enforcing them can eliminate some unnecessary contention. New York Life recommends having a discussion to express your expectations and to answer questions.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Establish rules about respecting others in the house. When someone is sleeping or studying, he is not to be interrupted by loud talking, television or music. Everyone should pick up his own clothes, towels and other personal items. Nothing should be borrowed without the permission of the item's owner. Mutual respect is based on good manners, which should be used in and out of the house.

Get Involved

Set a rule about responsibilities in maintaining the household. Each person should keep her own space neat and clean. Communal areas such as the kitchen, living room or bathrooms need a schedule for cleaning. Everyone in the family should have a turn to do the household chores, and she should be held responsible with consequences for not following through. Each person should do her own laundry, clean the kitchen after cooking and remove toiletries from shared bathroom areas.

Accountability

Everyone living under the same roof should have personal accountability. This means that if someone can't be home for dinner at the regular time, he should call and let someone know. Before leaving for an overnight trip or sleepover, there should be communication to prevent the rest of the family from worrying. Before bringing someone home for a meal or sleepover, he should clear it with the family to make sure it doesn't interfere with other plans. Each person should report an expected time of return to someone else in the family.

Financial

Every older child who is not in school should have some financial responsibility. After high school graduation, the children who are not actively taking classes should participate in paying bills. Set a limit for how long an older child can remain in the house before paying rent. After all, over the age of 18, she is considered an adult, and with the privileges should come the responsibilities. Allowing older children to stay home for a short period of time without paying rent is fine, but letting the situation continue indefinitely will create a dependency that may be difficult to break later. If the child incurs debt, rather than bail her out, assist her with budgeting and restructuring payments to improve her financial situation. Otherwise, she may never learn to balance her personal finances, and she'll keep having the same problems throughout life.

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