Monday, July 3rd 2006
House Rules

Our house has just three rules. Well, really we have a TON of rules, but Mike and I are sneaky, sneaky parents who have found a way to classify all rules into the Three Rules. 

A a kid in our house is likely to be asked periodically, "What are the rules?"

To which he or she will reply, "Be honest, be obedient, be respectful."

And then the follow up question is usually,
And WHICH one did you have trouble with?, and then the conversation goes from there. 

Those three rules cover everything, really. Ethan-6yr is smacking his brother with a stick in the backyard…? He’ll tell you he’s not beng respectful of his brother (or respectful of his brother’s need to keep his skin in one, large, unbroken piece) if you ask him. See how those three blanket rules cover lots?

One of the things Mike and I have always drilled home is that if one of us should give a kid an answer, that child better NOT go to the other parent and try to get a different answer. (This also falls under ‘Be respectful.’)

Last night Ethan-6yr came and asked me if he could have a bandaid. We try to avoid the common childhood psychological ailment of Bandaid Dependency, so I looked at the tiny cut before saying, "Sure." It was a borderline call, really. I took into account that he was up late and tired and it really did have a speck of blood if you looked closely.

He said, "Oh thank you," and started to leave to get the bandaid. Then he stopped, thinking hard while he turned around, and said, "Um…. it’s really important…. when you have a medical problem…. to get a…a… second opinion."

I was left, wondering WHAT he meant as he tore out of the room at top speed.  He was already in the bathroom cabinet when I realized what he’d done, and how he’d ‘sold’ me on it!


What a stinker.


37 Comments on “House Rules”

July 3rd, 2006
4:00 pm

That’s hilarious. You have one very bright young man there!

July 3rd, 2006
5:13 pm

Oh, he is so smart!!!
But I love the three rules — they really do cover everything!

July 3rd, 2006
5:21 pm

“A second opinion” *snort*

That kid…..

July 3rd, 2006
5:31 pm

How come we weren’t that smart when we were kids? My son asked me if he could be a construction worker in order to avoid college. I said that would be a great job, but if he went to college, he could be an engineer and own the company (I thought I was being so smart) He looked at me and asked: “Can’t I just hire an engineer?”

July 3rd, 2006
6:19 pm

Smart kid!


July 3rd, 2006
7:47 pm

I love the 3 rules. I think I might try that.

July 3rd, 2006
8:18 pm

Good three rules. Mine are close to yours: Be kind, be honest, be safe.

I think it’s a whole lot easier for kids to have only three rules to remember and obey. And it’s great abstract and critical thinking for them to figure out how everything fits under those three rules.

Ethan is a genius, you know.

July 3rd, 2006
8:46 pm

Great rules!! And smart kiddo:) What I want to know is what kind of discipline do they recieve for breaking the rules? I need some advice BIG time.

July 3rd, 2006
9:05 pm

second opinion *snorting* that was great stuff

grafted branch
July 3rd, 2006
10:06 pm

Oh. You’re in trouble. lol. He’s that sharp at 6 years? What’s his brain going to be capable of at 16? Come to think of it, maybe 16 isn’t so much a threat — how about 26?

July 3rd, 2006
11:00 pm

It sounds like “sneaky” parents breed sneaky kids:) And the second opinion? That’s brilliant. So the question is, did you let him keep the Band-Aid?

July 3rd, 2006
11:24 pm

That kid is one smart cookie! If I lived with a child that smart, I swear, I would be completely intimidated.

July 4th, 2006
12:20 am

I love your three rules. Makes it all so simple..most of the you show.

July 4th, 2006
3:37 am

Hi Holy Mama – Daughter,
As Ethan’s grandmother downunder, I just had to comment on this post. I have been on the receiving end of many “Ethanisms” and the part I enjoy most is watching his facial expression while he is “perfecting” the wording. His gorgeous brown eyes look up to the left as his amazing brain and imagination kick in to high gear to best explain a concept to his audience.

To be honest, by far his best audience is his mom because he knows exactly the right mix of fact, selling points and convincing delivery to present to her. Ethan gets his answer and is in the next room before HM starts to experience the familiar feeling of “what did Ethan just sell me on now?”
If you understand Ethan logic, you can see his concepts are based on lots of knowledge, observation, personal experience and an amazing ability to weave everything together in an “Ethanism” such as second medical opinions for a band-aid.
Thanks for reading to the end of Ethan’s grandmother’s first ever blog comment. See what I mean about his persuasive powers?
Cheers, J-mom

Mom Nancy
July 4th, 2006
7:37 am

You’d better keep an eye on that kid! He’s tricky!

July 4th, 2006
8:38 am

Hey – how fun that we got GRANDMA’S perspective!!!

I love the three rules. I may have to adopt them. :-) We have similar principles in place, but haven’t ever clarified them into 3 simple rules.

And one of the biggest no-nos in our house is also the “get what you want by asking the second parent” thing.

July 4th, 2006
8:54 am

That’s a great idea Kelsey!!

July 4th, 2006
9:11 am

That’s soo cute! Ha!

July 4th, 2006
11:46 am


What do you FEED that kid? Lots of protien, I presume.

I love your rules and I am gonna borrow them for my house!

July 4th, 2006
2:01 pm

hehe I love the second opinion comment!!!

July 4th, 2006
2:08 pm

I think the three simple rules concept rocks. I do the same kind of thing in my classroom, and the kids get the funniest look on their faces trying to figure out which rule their offense fits under, and how they are going to “sell” me on not awarding consequences.
Ethan is brainy and funny!

July 4th, 2006
8:30 pm

Yep, a smart guy alright!
What is it with kids and Band-Aids? I really should have bought some stock when I had my first child; I think I would have been a millionaire by now!

July 5th, 2006
12:11 am

ohhhhhhh.. you just totally got your three houise rules stolen!
I know, its not honest respectful or …well if you didn’t specifically say NOT to take them, am I being disobediant? I think I will get a second opinion!

julie carobini
July 5th, 2006
12:48 am

Funny–that smarty pants!


Angry Dad
July 5th, 2006
7:59 am

Wow, you’re Ethan sounds just like my Ethan! Thanks for dropping by my blog too!

July 5th, 2006
8:15 am

Those are great rules! A fourth one in our house is “Mommy and Daddy are ALWAYS in agreement.” My three year old can spout that one off. Did you ask Daddy? yes… then why are you asking me? You know I’m in agreement with him.

Heather S
July 5th, 2006
8:48 am

That Ethan is just too smart! Hilarious!

July 5th, 2006
10:02 am

That’s one of the funniest things I’ve ever heard! Smart boy!!!

July 5th, 2006
1:03 pm

Love that three rules! Oh and our kids have learned the consequences of asking the other parent after already asking the first one. I think they want to move to Australia on those sad days.

But that boy of yours? He’s quick! You’d better not put him in the same room as my daughter. We might be in big trouble then.

July 5th, 2006
5:22 pm

I hope you know you are raising a future attorney, maybe even a successful politician!

July 5th, 2006
8:57 pm

OH, but what a BRILLIANT child!

July 5th, 2006
10:55 pm

Clever guy! :-)

July 5th, 2006
11:49 pm

Man! That child is clever! Uh…I may be stealing those 3 rules for our house, I like em!

Dabbling Mum
July 7th, 2006
2:43 pm

Those are great three rules! Have you thought of turning them into an article for parenting magazines?

July 8th, 2006
6:42 pm

Sorry I had a laugh at your expense! That is one smart boy!

July 10th, 2006
8:12 am

Meant to tell you…we snagged your three rules. They are so simple! Even my 5 year old has them memorized.

Grim Reality Girl
July 17th, 2006
9:57 pm

Your son is brilliant like his mother! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the 3 rules. They are awesome! I am working on breaking my 9 year old son from hitting my 10 year old daughter. I know it is normal, but it needs to stop. I also share your “final answer” vision. Whichever parent is asked first is where the buck stops. That is it!

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