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Dealing with family rules

When family rules cause fights at home it can make everyone feel miserable. We’ve got some tips that can help ease the tension.

Teen with crossed arms sitting in front of blackboard of rules

Rules aren’t fun but they serve a purpose

Although it can feel like parents put rules in place just to be mean sometimes, rules are usually there to help you

  • Each family has their own set of values that parents try and teach their kids – sometimes this is done by establishing family rules
  • Each family’s rules might look different depending on what is important to that family and how that family works together
  • Some rules may change as you get older and other rules may stay the same

How can rules help me?

Parents usually want to see you do well in life! Rules can teach you important skills or habits, which you can use into adulthood.

  • Some rules teach you what behaviours are ok or not ok eg. not hitting your siblings during a fight teaches you how to resolve conflict without violence
  • Other rules try and help you learn healthy habits eg. rules about going to bed early can teach you about the importance of getting enough sleep
  • There may also be rules to keep you safe from harm eg. not staying out past curfew late at night because it’s unsafe

“Even though you may not agree, try to remind yourself that there’s usually a purpose for rules. Try talking with your family to understand the reason behind it” - Melissa, Kids Helpline Counsellor

How to deal with rules you disagree with

Some family rules might feel unfair. If you’re faced with a rule that you don’t understand or is upsetting, here are some ideas on what could make things easier:

Ask yourself: why might my family have created this rule? If you’re not sure, try to talk about it with your parents

See if there is any room for compromise - keep in mind that compromises might not always be possible

Let your parents know how you’re feeling especially if you feel sad, hurt or angry

If there is no room to change the rules right away, give it some time

Try to talk it through and get a different point of view

Find people you trust to talk to about what’s happened. See how they dealt with their family rules. Start with your:

Parents and siblings
School counsellor
Kids Helpline counsellor

“In the moment, you might feel angry or frustrated. Give yourself some time to think about it, cool off and come back to talk it through calmly.” - Belle, Kids Helpline Counsellor

Support is available!

Learning how to accept rules that you don’t agree with can be hard

If you want to talk about how you’re feeling and figure out some ways to get through difficulties at home, give us a call, start a WebChat or send us an email.

This content was last reviewed 18/07/2018

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