How to Set Coexistence Rules at Home?

Egbert Haynes

The rules of coexistence in the home for children they are essential to promote positive behavior, avoid negative behavior and raise mentally and physically healthy people.

On many occasions our children do not have a good behavior at home and we do not know what is the best way to set norms or limits to these actions. Preventing this type of action can help reduce subsequent risk situations or inappropriate behaviors of the minor both in childhood and adolescence.

To live in society, you need rules. The family is considered to be the first social group to which the child belongs and as such in which they begin to live together. Therefore, she must be in charge of setting standards of behavior to guide the child's behavior..

Is it important to have a norm of coexistence at home for children?

Living in a world without rules is unthinkable from a rational point of view, because if they did not exist, everything would be chaos and nothing would work properly. At home, when we live with a minor, we need to set rules that are known to them and understood.

That is, they have to know which line they cannot cross and if they do, whether or not that misbehavior will have a consequence..

A child who grows up without rules will not learn to behave appropriately in the world around him, so parents are in charge of giving him that information..

Norms and limits play a great role in his adaptation and environment process, as they help him determine his mode of action in all situations that arise (Beato, 2008).

In this article you can learn more about why standards are important.

Benefits of setting standards

But ... Does it have any benefit to set standards at home? Next we will expose several:

  • They generate a feeling of protection and give security to the minor. Something that we must prevent is that the child knows that they have more decision-making capacity than their own parents. If we want our son to respect us, we must have rules and limits that will result in him feeling safe and protected since he will know that his parents will be guiding him in his learning..

Thanks to the above, their world will be predictable and consequently safe since they have an orientation that guides their behavior..

  • They promote respect for others and teach appropriate behaviors. By setting rules, the child knows if his / her behavior is appropriate or not at all times and the consequences that failure to comply with a rule may have. Setting limits and rules is the way parents have to convey to their children how they should behave.
  • It helps them to later maintain good relationships with their colleagues and with the world around them. Although it is true that little ones like to explore the environment that surrounds them, no matter how much we adults tell them, it is something they have to do for themselves. Here is not only the exploration of their environment but also the power that parents have over them. The experience will teach them where the limits are in the family and later in their other socialization environments such as school.
  • Learning medium for adult life. We cannot forget that they are children and that at first it is normal that it is difficult for them to follow the guidelines. Therefore, we cannot get angry with him / her but keep a calm attitude and show him that he cannot do what he wants at all times. Although you may not believe it, a relaxed attitude is more effective than shouting and threatening, because we cannot forget that this attitude and action is also serving as a model and you can imitate it when you have to solve your own conflicts..

Although at the beginning they will need the rules to be “imposed” on them, over time the child will learn to put their own because they will have already internalized when a behavior is or is not appropriate (Beato, 2008).

How can we apply the rules at home?

The space that children are allowed is conditioned by two aspects: age and behavior. In the first, the age as they grow the freedom that we provide will be greater. In the second, depending on the behavior they present, the freedom we give them may or may not be extended..

If our children are young, at first the rules and limits will be imposed on them, they will obey them not because they see them reasonable, but because they are imposed on them. Thanks to this, you will learn that if you comply with them, then positive reinforcement will come. Although at the beginning they are imposed on him and he obeys them because that is the case, we must follow the rules and limits of explanations so that little by little he understands them.

It is recommended that you be rewarded as you obey the rules, although as you integrate them into your behavior, it should be reduced. Once the child has grown, try to reach an agreement on the rules, not to impose them, they will only be imposed in the event that an agreement is not reached (Lentini and Fox (S / F).

The establishment of standards involves a process that is specified in different steps:

  • Maintain emotional control. Parents need to be calm and collected when setting a standard.
  • Assess the age and degree of maturity of the children. The rules have to have different characteristics depending on age. When they are young, it is enough to have authority. The clearer the rule, the more secure the child will have in his behavior and in his relationship with the environment.

When our children reach adolescence, the confrontation with the norm will arise and it is necessary to be able to argue the reasons and show the need for the norm. In adolescence, it is advisable to negotiate accessory rules, this will allow us, on the one hand, to achieve an acceptable degree of compliance, and secondly, to teach our child to make decisions and to consider the pros and cons of each option..

  • Think about the norm. If the parents have already assessed the need for the standard, it needs to be agreed upon. It is convenient for parents to jointly analyze the behavior to be implemented.
  • Communicate the rule. It is important to find a suitable time to speak with them and explain why it is necessary. In addition to the positive consequences derived from complying with them and the negative ones if they are not respected.
  • Start up. We must remain firm in addition to collaborating in compliance with the rules by encouraging the minor and highlighting positive reinforcement.
  • Review and evaluation. The assumption of the rules and their compliance by the children requires the granting of a time frame (Madridsalud (S / F).

Types and characteristics of standards

There are many kinds of rules that can be set in the family. Below we are going to present those that favor its compliance within it:

  • All the rules that are directed to the minor must be within their reach to comply with them and according to their age, abilities and maturity.
  • If the minor does not understand the rules, he will not be able to comply with them, so they must be understandable and clear from the first moment.
  • Regardless of the mood or any other factor, you have to be consistent with the application of the rules.
  • The norms or limits that are established must be coherent (Kast-Zahn (2002).

In addition, we can divide the rules into:

  • They are standards that are characterized by being very clear and mandatory. For example: they do not stick to animals, they must be respected.
  • They are more nuanced than the previous ones and must be numerous and clear. Some aspects can be negotiated. For example: the pick-up time when you have left.
  • They are those that are used to regulate daily life in the family, they can also be negotiated. For example: helping with household chores every day (Kast-Zahn, 2002).

What to do if some rules are not met?

Sometimes the rules may not be followed. To help prevent this from happening, it is important for the child to know why they have to respect them as well as the meaning of each of them..

In addition to analyzing the reasons that have led to its non-compliance, if these are not reasonable, the consequence that is seen as appropriate by the parents will be applied. If we see that over time, the minor continues to violate this rule, we will have to think about hardening the punishment or changing it or, on the contrary, looking for more positive and attractive consequences.

In this article you can learn how to effectively impose punishments.

Sometimes we are not aware of our actions as parents or our reactions when our child has broken the rules. It is important that non-compliance with the rules does not trigger humiliation or disqualification of the child, as a result it is important that a suitable place and time be found to see the rule that has been broken and remember the consequence (proportional and adapted to the age) that has to have breached the rule.


As we have seen, it is important that our children are educated with established norms and that they last over time, that is, they are not variable.

In the event that they were, this would affect their daily life living with the anxiety and uncertainty of not knowing what will happen after a certain behavior, and in the long run, it can become a feeling of insecurity.

Setting clear and well-defined rules and limits will affect your life and development in a positive way. If this is not fulfilled, they will not be clear about where to go and that is where the struggle with the rules that govern the organization of the group or the family will begin and consequently it will lead to behavior problems at school on many occasions and rejection by the students. classmates.

As fathers, mothers and educators we must be aware of the benefits that the rules have in the life of the minor and of the consequences that it would entail if he did not have them. It is also important that we pay attention to how the rules should be implemented because sometimes if we are not persistent we can achieve the opposite effect to what we want.

Finally, remember that our children will imitate what they see of us, so it is important that we are calm at all times in the event that we do not respect any of them..


  1. Beato, M. d. P. F. (2008). The establishment of norms and limits in the family. Innovation and educational experiences.
  2. Guide to the children's homes regulations including the equality standards (2014). Deparment for education
  3. Lentini R. and Fox L. (S / F). Family routine guide. Positive solutions for families. Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning.
  4. Madridsalud (S / F). Rules and limits. Guide for families.
  5. Pearce, J. (1996). Good habits and bad habits: from family life to life in society.

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