This is the first installment of an eight-part series.
Let’s get clear. In different situations, different rules prevail. You take your shoes off in one person’s house; at someone’s else, you don’t. You might swim naked at the hippie hot springs, but not at the town pool.
Different capabilities call for different rules, too. You don’t jump into the lion’s pen, even though the lion-whisperer is rolling all around on the ground with the lions. The lion-whisperer has some skills that you don’t have.
So, rules are different for different people at different times. Rules depend.
Double standards, now: those are different. Double standards aren’t fair, and everyone knows it. If you tell a kid not to slam doors when they’re mad, you’ve got to not slam doors when you’re mad. If you expect them to say they’re sorry after they’ve done something hurtful, you’ve got to say sorry when you do the same.
Because here’s the idea. Rules are a collaboration, a cooperative agreement that everyone has to do their part to build and uphold; otherwise they don’t work. Rules can be complex and situational – they can depend. But they have to be consistent, or else the game falls apart, because one player is using a weighted ball and the other player isn’t.
What’s this game we speak of? The great game of living together with your kids in a way that works for everyone.
(To be continued next week.)