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Dealing with family rules

Family rules can play a role in your life even as you grow older, especially if you’re still living at home.

Teen with crossed arms in front of blackboard with rules

As you get older it’s natural to want more independence and freedom

Family rules often come down to family values and what different family members believe. Here are some things to keep in mind about rules:

  • 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
  • While some family rules might not change, other rules will likely grow and change as you do

Parents may have a strong sense of responsibility towards you even when you’re an adult. Even though you feel you’ve outgrown some rules, it may be hard for parents to make changes or let go of some rules.

How can rules help me?

Parents usually want to see you do well in life! Rules can teach you important skills or habits, which prepare you for success later in life.

  • Some rules teach you what behaviours are ok or not ok eg. not hitting other family members teaches you how to resolve conflict without violence 
  • Other rules try and help you learn healthy habits eg. doing your own washing or cleaning around the house
  • There may also be rules to keep you safe from harm eg. calling to tell your parents if you’re late coming home and when to expect you

How to deal with rules you disagree with

While some rules were important when you were younger, they may not apply in the same way now. Here are some ideas around how to address these decisions:

Let your parents know how you’re feeling and why you feel the rule is unfair or not appropriate anymore

If there is no room to change the rules right away, give it some time or start with very small changes

See if there is any room for compromise or negotiation now that you’re older

Try to understand the lesson behind the rule or talk to your parents to understand their intentions

“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 reasons behind it.” - Melissa, Kids Helpline Counsellor

Try to talk it through and get a different perspective

It can help to bounce your ideas off somebody you trust. Here are some potential sources of support you can talk to:

Other family members
Kids Helpline counsellor

Support is available!

Navigating your way through family rules as you get older can be tricky

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

This content was last reviewed 18/07/2018

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